The Special Economic Zone Authority at Duqm (SEZAD) is strongly pursuing the Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) route in the implementation of infrastructure and utility projects at the emerging maritime and industrial hub on the Wusta coast.
Additionally, the Authority is looking at local and international funding for the financing of key infrastructure projects amid an ongoing fiscal crunch that has pared state funding for these initiatives, a senior executive said.
“PPP is very important; we are now using such forms of investment in terms of road development, infrastructure, power generation, water desalination, and so on. SEZAD welcomes both local and international investment,” said Anwar Kahlan al Battashi, Manager — Urban Planning, SEZAD.
Addressing a business forum held in the city recently, Al Battashi said the authority envisions PPP opportunities across a number of infrastructure and project categories, including renewable energy (wind, solar and other sustainable resources), industrial and hazardous waste management, airport facilities, new port and dry docking facilities, and education and training services.
Furthermore, the Authority is keenly exploring novel ways of raising finance for the funding of infrastructure within the SEZ.
He cited in this regard the first-ever loan agreement reached recently with the Asian Infrastructrure Investment Bank (AIIB), which has made available $265 million in funding support for the implementation of a new commercial quay of Duqm Port.
Secured through the Ministry of Finance, it was the first such investment by AIIB in the Arabian Peninsula, he said.
“This loan emphasises the role of Duqm as a key strategic player in the Asian continent,” said the Manager, noting that SEZAD has also secured short-term loans from loan banks to finance its infrastructure projects.
Significantly, financing of PPP initiatives is also possible through SEZAD’s investment and development arm Al Duqm Development Company SAOC (Tatweer), said the official. A government company fully owned by SEZAD, Tatweer invests in basic infrastructure at Duqm SEZ aimed at attracting investments into the SEZ.
The Urban Planning executive also noted that the Authority was studying the potential for toll roads in Duqm, developed under the Public-Private-Partnership model.
“Through constant coordination with the Ministry of Finance, SEZAD liaises on a regular basis with regional financing institutions to finance a variety of infrastructure projects related to the port, roads, airport, and so on, as well as consultancy studies — whether in planning or design,” he added.