Oman will shortly establish a dedicated authority to oversee the implementation of the government’s keenly awaited Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) initiative for executing infrastructure and other civil projects in the Sultanate, a top official announced here yesterday.
Sayyid Khalid bin Hilal al Busaidy, (pictured) Minister of Diwan of Royal Court, said a new PPP law coupled with a regulatory framework, will also be issued to govern the establishment of the proposed PPP Authority.
Delivering the keynote address at the opening of the Oman Business Forum yesterday, Sayyid Khalid added that the Authority will be empowered to tender out and award infrastructure projects, as well as enter into contracts with the private sector to this end.
“This emerging partnership between the public and private sectors will take on a more substantive role in enhancing economic development, well beyond current trends,” the minister said. “The PPP initiative will draw its sustenance not only from supporting statutes and regulations, but will necessitate an integrated and collaborative role between the two public and private sectors. It will also mandate a concerted effort to ascertain how the partnership can face up to potential challenges while creating new growth opportunities as well.”
A number of government ministers, under-secretaries, members of the State Council and Majlis Ash’shura, CEOs and heads of public and private sector organisations were in attendance at the daylong event. Organised by Sharaka, the Oman Business Forum has been billed as a professional platform to provide value-added networking, exposure to business opportunities, knowledge sharing, and building collaborative partnerships between regional and international forums.
Earlier, Sayyid Khalid announced the establishment of a task force, comprising representatives from the public and private sectors, to help forge a strong basis for cementing a partnership between the two sectors in supporting national and economic development.
The creation of task force, dubbed ‘Sharaka’, stems from the Royal Directives of His Majesty the Sultan who, in 2015, called for the establishment of a framework to help entrench a key role for the private sector in the PPP initiative.
Progress has also been made in developing a PPP framework based on recommendations made by a joint team of representatives from the public and private sector. The joint team has discussed the parameters for the sharing of the financing of infrastructure projects by the public and private sectors, the minister said, adding that the new authority will facilitate the speedy approval of projects for implementation under the PPP model.
“The Task Force began its work initially by seeking to build a common ground for dialogue between the two sectors and to enhance mutual trust between them through meetings, workshops, and special groups hosted by the Diwan.
This generated positive commitments from the private sector, which through further interactions with government entities, provides a recipe for success.”
In conjunction with this effort, the government launched a number of national initiatives to develop the capabilities of the two public and private sectors to achieve the overarching objective of driving economic development. The National CEO Development Programme, for example, aimed to prepare Omanis for leadership roles in the private sector. Separately, the National Programme for Leadership and Competitiveness sought to build the capabilities of under-secretaries in order to create a supporting tier of leadership within ministries. A parallel initiative within this programme was implemented to help executive directors to steer their public-owned organisations towards competitiveness.
Commending the private sector on its growing contribution to economic development, Sayyid Khalid said: “The government has real trust in the private sector in its ability to support our nation’s growth. Statistics indicate that the participation of the sector in growing the economy has been continuously rising.”