Expanding its landmark Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) programme, the Ministry of Finance has launched a competitive process for the procurement of as many as 42 schools to be developed and operated at key locations around the country on behalf of the Ministry of Education (MoE).
It marks the first time that the PPP programme, operationalised for the first time last year following the promulgation of the PPP Law in 2019, has been extended to the educational sector.
Last December, the Ministry of Finance formally kicked off its PPP-based procurement programme with an invitation to private investors to participate in a competitive bid for the development of Liwa Fishery Harbour in North Al Batinah Governorate via the PPP route.
On Wednesday, the Ministry of Finance – which has the mandate to implement the nation’s PPP programme – issued a Request for Qualifications (RfQ) for the ‘Design, Construction, Finance, Operation and Maintenance” of 42 school buildings under the PPP model. The objective, it noted, is to engage the private sector in contributing to “fostering service innovation and achieving sustained growth” through PPP arrangements.
Last year, the Ministry had pointed out that the procurement of school buildings represents part of a wider school-building programme.
“The first phase of the school-building project aims at developing the educational infrastructure to meet the increasing demand for schools in various governorates. The expertise of the private sector can be used advantageously in designing and building schools and multi-purpose projects,” it had stated.
Late last year, the Ministry, in coordination with the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Water Resources, launched the procurement process for the development of Liwa Fishery Harbour – an initiative aimed at catalysing the growth of a thriving fisheries-centric economy around Liwa.
In addition to an upgrade of the harbour’s rudimentary infrastructure, the Ministry has identified the potential for private investment in, among other things, a full-fledged fish market, ice-making and refrigeration facilities, boat-building and repair workshops, fish processing and value-adding plants, fish waste processing and disposal, and other commercial activities.
Opportunities for the inclusion of a marina for leisure boats, watersports, and other tourism, hospitality, dining and entertainment facilities may be explored as well.
In the healthcare services sector, the Ministry plans to tap the private sector in the development of a Hemodialysis Services Project envisioning the establishment of a number of dialysis centres in key locations around the Sultanate of Oman. The PPP-based initiative is designed to ease the burden on the Ministry of Health, as well as provide greater convenience to patients distributed around the country. Separately, a Drug Rehabilitation Center is planned at Suhar to provide treatment and post-treatment services to recovering addicts.
Rounding off the list of initiatives proposed for PPP procurement is a proposal for a new expressway dedicated to trucks operating between Thamrait and Salalah Port.
While heavy vehicles will be obligated to use this toll-based road system, the option will be available to the general public as well, the Ministry pointed out.