SMEs set to play key role in Oman’s GDP

Muscat: Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are expected play a key role in Oman’s GDP in the future. This year, more measures were taken by both public and private sectors to enhance the role of SMEs.

The number of SMEs registered by the Public Authority for Small and Medium Enterprises Development (Riyada) stood at 606 by end of January this year, bringing the total number of these institutions to 32,441, according to preliminary data released by the National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI).

However, there has been a drop in the number of SMEs being registered in the first month of 2018 compared with the same period last year.

The Public Establishment for SMEs Development (Riyada), in cooperation with Petroleum Development Oman (PDO), has begun to implement the 2017-2018 technical subsidy programme for the development of SMEs. The programme targets 300 entrepreneurs.

The initiative aims at enhancing partnership between Riyada, SMEs and private sector in a bid to empower entrepreneurs and help them develop projects in a sustainable way.

Corporate entities have been taking measures to enhance the role of SMEs in the development of projects.

Haya Water says it pays great attention to supporting SMEs by giving them a large share of the company’s projects. This, it says, is part of the company’s national responsibility.

As per 2017 Haya Water statistics, SMEs were awarded more than RO 1 million in terms of closed tenders. However, in open tenders, the company awarded more than half a million Omani rials for SMEs.

As for the tenders in which large-sized companies are committed to giving SMEs 10 per cent of the value of the tenders, they amounted to RO 1.5 million.

Oman Drydock Company (ODC), a subsidiary of the government-owned holding company Asyad, organised a forum for local SMEs (vendors and suppliers). This was aimed at boosting ODC’s In-Country Value (ICV) contribution by focusing on local supplier and vendor selection, thereby developing Oman’s economy.

The objective was to present business opportunities at ODC and establish strategic relationships with SMEs and private sector companies many areas.

Some of the services that are provided include ship repair in engineering, fitting, blasting, painting and procurement as well as testing and trials.

While the focus is on service capability, the company wants to build partnerships with SMEs and local companies and introduce them to a wide spectrum of business opportunities available with ODC.

Hamed al Maghderi, Country Director of Engie in Oman, says there is a requirement for specialized SMEs. “SMEs is an important sector in Oman. Supporting SMEs is a requirement whether it is local or global. In addition to providing them with business opportunities, we are trying to raise their experience to meet the level of work efficiency required in our target. We need more specialised SMEs such as the ones for operations or others specialised in the field of electricity and water. This way we can contribute more. At present, we see SMEs focusing mainly on soft skills.”

With 230 enterprises registered, the Governorate of Muscat has the largest number of SMEs. But the figure saw a 29.4 per cent decrease compared with the same period in 2017. The total number of SMEs in Muscat is 10,490.

The Governorate of North Al Batinah ranked second with 91 SMEs registered since the beginning of 2018 till the end of January. North Al Batinah has seen a decrease of 38 per cent. The total number of SMEs in this governorate reached 4,988.

This is followed by the Governorate of Al Dakhiliyah, where 68 SMEs were registered by the end of January, which is 50 per cent lower than in the same period in 2017. With this, the total number of SMEs there reached 4,402.

The number of SMEs registered in the Governorate of South Al Batinah since the beginning of 2018 till the end of January was 44, which is a drop of 61.4 per cent, compared with the same period in 2017, bringing the total of SMEs in the governorate to 2,403.

The Governorate of North Al Sharqiyah saw a decline by 39.1 per cent in the number of SMEs, which were registered by the end of January to reach 42, compared with the same period in 2017. This brought the total number of these enterprises in the governorate to 2,278.

In the Governorate of Al Dhahirah, 34 SMEs were registered by the end of January, which is a fall of 43.3 per cent, compared with the same period of 2017, bringing the total number of these enterprises to 2,086.

Similarly, there was a decrease of 29.8 per cent in the number of SMEs registered in the Governorate of Dhofar compared with last year. With the registration of 40 enterprises, the total number of SMEs in the governorate reached 2,850.

The Governorate of South Al Sharqiyah recorded a registration of 29 SMEs, which is a fall of 44.2 per cent, compared with the same period in 2017, bringing the total number of these enterprises to 1,877.

The Governorate of Al Buraimi recorded registration of 20 SMEs by the end of January, constituting an increase by 53.8 per cent, compared with the same period in 2017. The total number of SMEs in the governorate increased to 590.

In the Governorate of Al Wusta, 7 SMEs were registered, which is a decrease of 61.1 per cent, taking the total number of enterprises to 359.

Only one enterprise was registered in the Governorate of Musandam, taking the total number of SMEs in the governorate to 118.