The Public Authority for Special Economic Zones and Free Zones (OPAZ) has issued a decision to form an executive committee to oversee the development project of the Integrated Economic Zone in Al-Dhahirah Governorate. Chaired by Eng Ahmed bin Hassan al Dheeb, OPAZ Deputy Chairman, the committee includes a number of officials from OPAZ and from the Saudi side members from the Ministry of Investment, Economic Cities and Special Economic Zones Authority and the Saudi Development Fund.
The committee is responsible for several tasks, most notably supervising the implementation of the memorandum of understanding signed between OPAZ and the Saudi Economic Cities and Special Economic Zones Authority, in the field of economic development for special economic zones and free zones. The committee will also develop a plan for the development, execution and management of the Integrated Economic Zone project in Al Dhahirah Governorate, including all programmes and initiatives, and monitoring their implementation. Additionally, the committee will oversee the establishment of the Omani-Saudi Company that will manage and operate the Integrated Economic Zone in Al Dhahirah Governorate.
The committee will work towards exchanging successful experiences and practices in the management and operation of economic zones between the two countries. It will also coordinate to hold informative workshops for traders and investors about the Zone in both countries.
Mahmoud bin Hamoud al Rawahi, General Manager of OPAZ Planning and IT Sector, and a member of the committee, said: "OPAZ has completed the consultancy studies related to the Integrated Economic Zone project in Al Dhahirah Governorate, which has been allocated 388 sq km of investment land. OPAZ has also provided the relevant documents, which support providing the funding required for developing the project’s first phase, covering an area of 20 sq km. This phase includes the establishment of infrastructure, roads, electrical installations, water and sewage networks, industrial waste treatment, and necessary facilities for the zone, in addition to providing engineering consultancy services for the project (design and supervision). The remaining part of the zone will be developed as future expansions to meet the land requirements for all economic sectors in Al Dhahirah Governorate.”
Al Rawahi confirmed that establishing the land port marks one of the priorities in implementing the infrastructure facilities of the Integrated Economic Zone project in Al Dhahirah Governorate. The Zone was established to maximise the benefits of its strategic location on the borders with Saudi Arabia. It is located about 20 kilometres from the border crossing of the Empty Quarter with Saudi Arabia and about 100 kilometres from Ibri Industrial City project. OPAZ aims to contribute to stimulating bilateral trade between Oman and Saudi Arabia, as well as enhancing efforts for economic development and diversification, opening new opportunities for the Omani and Gulf economies, and drawing on the competitive advantages and attractiveness of the location.
The Integrated Economic Zone in Al Dhahirah will have a leading role in maximising the benefits of its location, as well as playing a significant role in the development of Al Dhahirah Governorate and enhancing bilateral trade between the two countries. It is expected that the zone will also have an important role in creating job opportunities for Omanis, in line with the objectives of Oman Vision 2040, and attracting Saudi companies to establish their projects in Oman and form economic partnerships in various economic activities.