BUSINESS REPORTER –
MUSCAT, JAN 16 –
A growing investment movement is being witnessed at Al Mazyounah Free Zone as more investments were attracted to the zone and a number of contracts were signed by the end of 2017, noted Salah al Alawi (pictured), director general of Al Mazyounah Free Zone.
“This growth comes as a result of several factors and efforts made by the Public Establishment for Industrial Estates (PEIE) and related governmental bodies to streamline and facilitate the investment procedures in Al Mazyounah Free Zone and to overcome the challenges facing the free zone,” Al Alawi said, adding: “The constant follow up and direct attention paid by the Minister of Commerce and Industry, who is also the chairman of free zones committee, has also contributed to the facilitation of the matters related to the free zone. The Royal Oman Police has also made significant efforts in facilitating the procedures of security approvals.”
“The cumulative number of companies that have signed contracts in the free zone has touched 160 from different nationalities. Besides, a number of investment applications are under study, and around 30 projects are under construction. During the same period, the free zone has witnessed an active commercial movement. The volume of re-exported goods surpassed 64468 tons by the end of 2017. In addition, the number of re-exported vehicles exceeded 11675 by the end of 2017. In order to keep pace with this increase in the volume of goods, work is underway to establish a storage area of 10000 sqm,” Al Alawi pointed out.
He stressed that the growth witnessed by the free zone in attracting companies and boosting commercial movement has positively resulted in the increase of imports through Omani ports.
“This has boosted the movement of the Omani transport sector. The commercial movement has also reflected positively on the wilayat of Al Mazyounah in a direct way through the increase witnessed in the number of companies and investment activities, which have played a role in providing job opportunities for the youth in the wilayat. Additionally, the business environment in the wilayat of Al Mazyounah has encouraged the youth to enter the business field and work in the free zone’s associated tasks including customs, printing and photocopying offices, and import and export offices,” Al Alawi stated.
With regard to the infrastructure of the free zone, Al Alawi explained that creating an apt infrastructure is the driving force of investment, which eventually plays a significant role in the attraction of investments to the free zone. “The free zone has worked to complete the development of the first package projects, which included the basic facilities of the free zone comprising gates, customs offices, warehouses, and infrastructure such as electricity, water, telecom, road networks, sewage networks, among other services. These works were completed by the end of 2014,” he said.
During the recent period, a tender was submitted to provide the second package projects the aim at complementing the first package to provide the basic services in the free zone. The tender envelopes will be opened within the next few days and the project will be awarded to a company. It should be noted that the drilling of four water wells in the free zone has already been completed. Moreover, a tender was issued by Oman Broadband Company to connect the fibre optic network in the area, which will be completed by the beginning of the second quarter of 2018. A tender will also be issued in the coming weeks to complete the connection of electrical network in the free zone. The Director General of Al Mazyounah Free Zone added that on January 1, 2018, an online system for entering, exiting and storing good to and from the free zone was launched. “Furthermore, an investment system will be launched next month, which shall simplify the procedures and provide all necessary services to investors. The free zone will witness an electronic transformation for all its operations by the middle of this year. Besides, a number of governmental bodies are present in the free zone to offer their services to the operating companies, in addition to the presence of Sanad office to complete necessary transactions of the investors including visa related matters. The ROP have also shown a significant cooperation by operating the customs area in the free zone,” he said. “In addition, an agreement was signed with a company to set up a hotel in the free zone, and the company has already commenced construction works,” he informed.
Al Alawi finally stressed that the PEIE in coordination with the competent bodies have worked to find regulations, controls and work mechanisms that regulate the work within Al Mazyounah Free Zone.
The Minister of Commerce and Industry, chairman of free zones committee, issued Ministerial Decision no. 22/2010 on the regulations of Al Mazyounah Free Zone, and the Ministerial Decision no. 3/2014 on the operation controls of the free zone. Given the location of the free zone, PEIE has always been keen to equip the free zone with necessary facilities and complete the necessary procedures to ease the movement of people and goods.
BUSINESS REPORTER –