Private developers invited to set up industrial parks

The Public Establishment for Industrial Estates (PEIE) yesterday unveiled a number of initiatives to drive investment in the manufacturing sector, including a strategy to allow private and international investors to develop industrial parks on long-term usufruct agreements.
The initiatives were announced at a press conference at Crowne Plaza Muscat on the theme, ‘Strengthening Partnership with the Private Sector’. Hilal bin Hamad al Hasani, Chief Executive Officer of PEIE noted that the press conference will be an annual briefing to highlight its future plans.
Seeking to strengthen the private sector’s role in the development and operation of industrial parks, Al Hasani announced a new three-part strategy for implementation over the next two years.
First: PEIE will open investment opportunities for local and foreign investors in the development of new industrial estates located in a number of wilayats during the years 2018 and 2019.
To this end, local and international industrial developers will be invited to invest in the construction, management and operation of specialised investment areas. PEIE has worked on establishing rules, procedures and legislative frameworks that grant developers with a lineup of incentives and clearly define their rights and duties, which include granting them usufruct contract for up to 99 years.
Second: PEIE is developing guidelines under which private firms can establish economic clusters in areas either owned by PEIE or has usufruct rights from the competent authorities. PEIE aims to benefit from the international and regional expertise in the fields of construction, management and operation of economic areas.
“This will open the way to attract international operators for the estates and public facilities, in addition to have contracts with them through agreements that last for a period up to 25 years. This will eventually increase the competitiveness of the industrial estates in Oman and create an integration of activities within the industrial community through applying the best management practices,” said Al Hasani.
Third: PEIE also announced the establishment of Oman Investment and Development Holding Company, which is wholly owned by PEIE and which will take over the process of constructing, managing and operating the existing industrial estates. The company will establish companies for development and companies for management and operation for the existing industrial estates through partnership with specialised operators in this field.
“It is hoped that the company will commence its operations during the second half of 2018. A time-plan has also been prepared to transfer the existing industrial estates to the holding company gradually, which will take into consideration not to affect negatively on the offered services to the companies, investors and clients,” said Al Hasani.
Furthermore, the programme for ‘Strengthening Partnership with the Private Sector’ aims at implementing privatisation procedures in a smooth and effective manner in order to ensure the contribution of the industrial estates to the sustainable and comprehensive economic and social development.
As per the time-plan, the role of PEIE by 2022 will be linked to planning, regulating, monitoring and following-up, while the role of Oman Investment and Development Holding Company will be developing, managing and operating, and will act as a main developer in the existing industrial estates. On the other hand, the local and international development companies will act as the main developers of the new industrial estates.
Investment opportunities
Al Hasani also announced that guidelines are being developed for investment in commercial areas within Rusayl Industrial Estate, facility buildings and the residential village in Sohar Industrial Estate, sixth and seventh buildings in Knowledge Oasis Muscat, and facility buildings in Samayil Industrial Estate.
“Work is under way to announce a number of investment opportunities in the various industrial estates in 2018,” he noted, adding: “Although the company will operate on a commercial basis; however, the economic and social development of the Sultanate will be the policy of PEIE, which represents one of the main government bodies in the development process. It aims at implementing its national strategy and the policies adopted, which comprise 13 policies and five strategic objectives linked to the national objectives that the Sultanate’s government is seeking to implement.”
PEIE has also completed the masterplan for Sur Industrial Estate, Sohar Industrial Estate and the Knowledge Oasis Muscat. “Through the implementation of these masterplans, PEIE has been able to attract major investments to the three areas and especially Sur Industrial Estate. By the end of this year, the development of Samayil Industrial Estate will be fully completed, and the development of the seventh phase in Sohar Industrial Estate will be completed. Additionally, the project of developing the second phase in Al Mazunah Free Zone will commence, and the expansion of Raysut Industrial Estate will be launched. A tender will be announced for the development of a phase in Nizwa and Sur Industrial Estates,” he said.