By Zainab Al Nasseri — MUSCAT: May 21 – The number of new small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that were registered in the Sultanate declined 31.2 per cent by the end of March 2017 compared with last year. A total of 2,759 enterprises were registered until the end of March as against 4,013 in the same period last year, according to the Public Authority for Small and Medium Enterprises Development (Riyada). The biggest dip was in Dhakhiliyah Governorate (55.4 per cent), followed by Batinah North (48.9 per cent), Buraimi (45.7 per cent) and Dhofar (43.6 per cent). However, a slight increase was noticed last March.
A total of 895 small and 38 medium enterprises were registered compared with 805 small and 27 medium enterprises last February. Experts attributed the decline to the current global economic crises. “SMEs are concerned about not being able to fulfill their occupational demands, so they avoid opening new stores for now,” a business analyst told the Observer. He said SMEs need to be supported by facilitating licensing and reducing interest on bank loans. “These enterprises are vital for the economy. Both parties need to create partnerships and find ways of cooperation that will help reduce occupational costs for both,” he said.