Tuesday, August 09, 2022 | Muharram 10, 1444 H
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EDITOR IN CHIEF- ABDULLAH BIN SALIM AL SHUEILI

‘Made in Oman’ in collaboration with Qatar

Qatari investments in the Sultanate of Oman have strengthened in recent years, becoming concentrated in several active economic sectors, including the industrial sector. One significant project resulting from such serious investments was inaugurated the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Duqm recently. Karwa Motors, the first factory for the assembly of buses, is the product of Omani and Qatari investments.


Although the first phase of the bus assembly project is modest in its capital at $71 million, there is optimism that the two countries will inject further funding in the project in future. Qatar’s Mowasalat has a 70 per cent stake in Karwa Motors, while Oman Investment Authority contributes the remaining 30 per cent of the project’s capital.


The recent inauguration of the project witnessed participation of a number of Qatari and Omani officials and personalities, who praised the specifications and high quality of buses assembled at the plant.


Such factories need more local and foreign investments plants manufacturing automotive spare parts and equipment required by the bus industry. This opens up opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises specializing in the manufacture of parts and components. Elsewhere in the world, automotive plants typically stimulate the growth of hundreds of factories that supply all kinds of parts and accessories necessary for the industry. For example, we find that the Toyota in Japan depends upon around 40,000 Japanese small and medium enterprises for the parts and equipment that go into the brand’s cars, buses and other vehicles. The Japanese not only monopolize the manufacturing space for their products, but they also open up opportunities for others to enter these industries, thereby igniting the growth of millions of job openings in various economic sectors. This is what we hope to see achieved in our Gulf region, which has financial, human and logistical capabilities.


Today, the Sultanate of Oman is working to achieve economic diversification, whether in manufacturing or in other economic sectors, by allocating large areas for individuals and institutions that wish to engage in productive work. It works alongside industrialisation by exploiting maritime, agricultural and mineral resources that the Almighty has blessed the nation with.


This Omani-Qatari factory, which is supported by Chinese technologies, is only a useful model that Oman can replicate in driving the growth of industrial investment over the coming years. It is the product of real economic partnership between the two brotherly countries. This project aims to achieve a set of development goals in the Sultanate and Qatar through the transfer of modern technologies, enhancement of local added value, and contributing to the employment of qualified Omani workers in such modern centers and factories.


While production was partly delayed because of the Covid 19 pandemic, the first batches of buses are headed to the sisterly State of Qatar, where they will deployed for passenger transportation during the 2022 FIFA World Cup in November.


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