MUSCAT: Foreign investors can invest up to 100 per cent in the Sultanate, said Dr Ali bin Masoud al Sunaidy, Minister of Commerce and Industry.
Dr Al Sunaidy also briefed the Indian side at the Omani-Indian Joint Committee on Monday about the facilities offered by the Sultanate through the ‘Invest Easy’ portal for investments. The Omani side at the talks was led by Dr Al Sunaidy and the Indian side by Suresh Prabhu, Minister of Commerce, Industry and Civil Aviation, who is currently visiting the Sultanate along with officials and businessmen.
There are already more than 3,000 joint Omani-Indian companies in the Sultanate, with more than 150 owned completely by India, he said.
The minister said the two sides discussed key projects that may be set up in the Special Economic Zone in Duqm such as petrochemical industries, steel, mining and food.
Large Indian companies were invited to invest in Duqm in the food industry, he said.
With the State General Reserve Fund’s (SGRF) investment in India having been expanded, the fund has been investing in many projects in that country, the minister said.
A technical fund has been investing in Indian companies in the Indian city of Bangalore.
The joint committee meeting also focused on opportunities in the Sultanate’s mining sector with the possibility of benefiting from some successful Indian experiences in the Sultanate. It also focused on benefiting from the experience of the Indian side in establishing Information and Communications Technologies (ICT)-based industries such as applications, electronic services and software.
Dr Al Sunaidy termed the eighth session of the Omani-Indian Joint Committee very important as it discussed new areas of cooperation.
It provided an opportunity to review the growth in reciprocal trade between the Sultanate and India according to the statistics of 2016 and 2017.
“The session discussed facilitating transport of vegetables and fruits from Indian ports to the Sultanate by dealing directly with Indian companies. This will ensure quick delivery of products to the consumers. The session also discussed issues related to energy, clean energy and space sciences,” he added.
On increasing the number of Oman Air and SalamAir flights, Dr Al Sunaidy said this has “become a requirement” since the Sultanate is close to reaching the limit set by the Indian side (80 per cent of flights granted to the Omani side). This is likely to happen by the end of this year.
After that, doors will be open for negotiations to increase direct flights between Oman and different cities in India.
Regarding trade exchange and volume of investment between the two countries, he said the total value of Omani exports to India has crossed $2.5 billion. The value of imports from India has crossed $1.4 billion.
He said the Sultanate seeks to increase trade exchange both directly and indirectly.
Suresh Prabhu said the Sultanate was a preferred destination for the Indian investors. “There is a trend among the Indian and Omani sides to enhance joint ventures that focus on East African markets,” he said.
Suresh Prabhu said the volume of trade between the two countries stood at $10 billion.
He said the reciprocal trade was growing constantly due to an increase in the volume of imports and exports between the two countries.
The meeting also discussed several topics, including food security and quality of goods and commodities.
The meeting was also attended by the Sultanate’s Ambassador to India and the Indian Ambassador to the Sultanate. — ONA