Business Reporter –
MUSCAT, FEB 8 –
Total investments in the nation’s network of industrial parks, administered by the Public Establishment for Industrial Estates (PEIE), have grossed over RO 6 billion to date, fuelled in part by strong inflows during the first half of 2016, according to a top government official
Eng Hilal bin Hamad al Hasani (pictured), Chief Executive Officer of PEIE, the industrial estates are currently home to 1,688 units, including 277 projects that are under construction, and 349 others that have allotted plots. “It is expected that a large proportion of these projects will come on stream over the foreseeable future,” he said in comments marking the Sultanate’s Industry Day which falls on February 9 each year.
Al Hasani added that during the first half of 2016, PEIE pulled in RO 228 million in new investments. As of mid-2016, more than 46,000 people were employed in the various estates, including around 17,000 Omanis. Moreover, the total leased area in the various industrial estates has soared to 33.2 million square metres as of mid-2016, he noted.
This year’s Industry Day, the CEO said, coincides with the successful implementation of the provisions of Royal Decree 32/2015, setting out the PEIE’s new regulations.
“In line with these regulations, PEIE’s tender regulations are being published in the official gazette since the start of this year. This shall give PEIE the flexibility in providing services in its industrial estates in accordance with best management practices,” Al Hasani said.
The new regulations are due to be published during the first half of 2017, the official said, adding that they will facilitate local and foreign investment inflows.
Commenting on PEIE’s growth objectives, he said the Establishment is currently implementing a number of expansion schemes. “A master plan has been prepared for Sohar Industrial Estate centring on the Phase 7 development. The master plan covers both basic infrastructure and social welfare such as housing, recreational and commercial facilities, which are required to support the industrial investments,” Al Hasani stated.
The first phase of this master plan involves an analysis of the estate’s current status, an analysis of the existing seven phases, an analysis of the usage of lands and infrastructure, among other aspects.
The second phase involves preparation of an integrated master plan, determining the industrial sectors and taking into account the usage of lands for each sector, and providing and developing the required infrastructure for each sector while considering the recommendations for potential future expansion areas. The third phase focuses on preparing a detailed plan to develop facilities and services.
There is also a study to push the pace of development and assess the viability to localise industrial investments at Sur Industrial Estate, according to the official. The study will identify promising investment sectors and the required support infrastructure.
In line with its national training efforts, PEIE recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Petroleum Development Oman (PDO). As per the MoU, PEIE shall coordinate with various companies and factories operating in the industrial estates to secure full-time employment for trainees upon the successful completion of their training.
Meanwhile, new start-ups incubated at the National Business Centre (NBC), which falls under the umbrella of PEIE, have generated financial returns exceeding RO 1.2 million in 2016. “Today, there are 34 companies incubated at NBC and Riyada with an occupancy rate reaching 77 per cent. These companies have recruited 81 Omani nationals,” Al Hasani stated .
Business Reporter –