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MSM 30 index falls.

MUSCAT: The MSM30 index ends lower by 0.41 per cent to close at 5498.500. Bank Sohar was the most active in terms of volume while BankMuscat was the most active in terms of turnover. Financial Services was the top gainer of the day, to close up by 3.77 per cent, while Transgulf Holding lost the most and closed down by 3.28 per cent.

A total number of 698 trades were executed in yesterday's trading session generating turnover of RO2.12 million with over 7.64 million shares of trading volume. The market breadth was in favour of decliners.

Out of 41 traded stocks, 21 declined, seven advanced and 13 remained unchanged. At the session close, GCC and Arab investors switched to net buyers for RO116,000 while foreign investors were net sellers for RO79,000 followed by Omani investors for RO37,000 worth of shares. Banking and Investment Index was down by 0.51 per cent at 6144.59 points. -

Financial Services was the only gainer in the sector and was up by 3.77 per cent to close at RO0.055. Transgulf Holding, Gulf Investment Services, Al Anwar Holding, Ominvest and ONIC Holding declined by 3.28 per cent, 1.96 per cent, 1.94 per cent, 1.87 per cent and 1.86 per cent respectively.

The Industrial Sector Index closed at 5697.89 points, down by 0.67 per cent. Oman Flour Mills was the only gainer in the sector and was up by 0.25 per cent to close at RO0.407. Raysut Cement, Gulf International Chemicals, Gulf Mushroom, Jazeera Steel Product and Galfar Engineering declined by 2.62 per cent, 2.46 per cent, 2.15 per cent, 2.03 per cent and 1.43 per cent respectively.

Services & Insurance Sector Index was down by 0.13 per cent to close at 2408.82 points. OIFC, SMN Power, Oman Oil Marketing, Majan College and Omantel increased by 1.25 per cent, 0.53 per cent, 0.38 per cent, 0.33 per cent and 0.08 per cent respectively. Renaissance Services, Al Jazeera Services, Dhofar Insurance, Nawras and Port Services Corp declined by 1.60 per cent, 0.65 per cent, 0.59 per cent, 0.48 per cent and 0.26 per cent respectively.

growing SMEs, while an important step was taken to enlist all approved SMEs. Sohar SME meet was the second in the series held in the recent past in the Sultanate. "The Tender Board had earlier proposed to bring together the SMEs in order to expand their contribution into the national economy. While giving more stress on this, we propose that a certain percentage of the construction work in the region should be earmarked and reserved for the SMEs from that region.

Also, formation of consortiums by such small companies will help them in taking up bigger projects by complimenting each others' strength. We envisage this as a movement throughout Oman in the coming years," said Sheedi.

The inputs we have gathered from the meet have helped us and participants to identify the strength and weakness of SMEs in the region and evolve solutions to tackle the issues faced by them in the industry, said Sheedi.

A committee was formed at the meet under the leadership of OSC including the participants to create a base for quality competition, study the challenges and look for solutions to the various problems faced by them and represent the regional SMEs. SMEs' gatherings at various regions in the Sultanate are designed to create a common platform for collective interactions. The board meeting of Oman Society of Contractors has decided to work towards developing new strategies and approaches for making the SMEs sector more productive and vibrant, he said.

Infrastructure projects

The role of local contractors should be strengthened in order to implement the infrastructure projects by absorbing professionals and institutionalising futuristic technologies to ensure sustainable development. Skills of the Omani work force and their technical resources have to be utilised in infrastructure development by giving more opportunities to the local construction companies in Oman, he said.

Welcoming the Labour Law amendments made by the Manpower Ministry to include five-day week and 30-day annual leave for the employees, the chief executive of OSC said it's an encouragement for the working sector.

The chief executive called upon all the members of OSC to comply the orders for developing a healthy and competitive workforce.

"The OSC ensures that the construction industry performs optimally by maintaining Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) standards and meets the requirements of quality and welfare of employees to make the industry globally competent.

The recent growth of construction sector and participation of several Omani managed companies in construction projects in the GCC, middle east and other Asian countries competing with global standards is evidence of the advance made by Omani companies," said Sheedi. The OSC is continually striving to encourage the industry to reach global standards. The active policy dialogues held by OSC with various ministries to bring conducive and productive atmosphere in the construction sector has met with success with more and more participation from Omani run companies said Sheedi.

"We need to encourage the local companies that have the required skills and gear them up to face the global challenges elsewhere as well. Tender Board authorities have given a patient hearing to the plea made by the Oman Society of Contractors and it is heartening to note that stipulations are in process that would reduce the dependency over International companies and make the Omani Construction industry more competent and confident," said the chief executive.

The inauguration of a new loan scheme for SMEs is a boost to the many growing SMEs and will assist in expanding their business.

It is expected that local contractors make use of all the available resources to reach the top of the Oman construction Industry and reduce the dependency on international companies.

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Publication:Times of Oman (Muscat, Oman)
Date:Nov 21, 2011
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