is Majesty Sultan Qaboos’ directives for members of his government reiterated the need to continue enhancing sources of national income and non-dependence on oil as sole source of revenue, according to a speech circulated in the press since the 1970s when the first Development Council was formed on November 17, 1974.
A hallmark in the history of socio-economic development agencies in the Sultanate, the Development Council adopted a five-principle strategy in this regard.
First, the country’s oil wealth is the right of all generations of Omanis and not the present one alone. Second, the country’s economic future is to ensure diversity of sources of national income. Third, the private sector is a pillar of a monopoly-free national economy. Fourth, Omani citizens who are qualified to practise economic and productive activities are targets of development goals. Fifth, investments need to be distributed in a way that eliminates disparity in standard of living across regions in the Sultanate.
These principles have been reiterated in HM’s speeches since then. However, what has been achieved in this regard does not meet the aspirations of the country and its citizens who expect more projects that can provide them with job opportunities.
A few days ago during a meeting of Cabinet of Ministers, His Majesty asked them to continue in the direction while speaking about some of the positive economic developments in Oman’s recent economic diversification policy, including the official launch of Muscat International Airport.
His Majesty also hailed the progress in the roads and ports sector and logistics in the country. Such projects will attract further domestic and foreign investments and provide additional employment opportunities for young Omani job-seekers.
No doubt, the transport and communications sector is among sectors that have received great attention since the early 1970s. It connected members of the Omani society, helped them move from one region to another smoothly and bridged distances, in addition to achieving more integration of the projects adopted by the Sultanate.
Transport and communications sector has also helped in implementing plans and programmes set by the Sultanate to achieve development in all parts of the country through establishment of roads, seaports, airports and free industrial zones and economic zones in some governorates.
This is along with development of tourism, fisheries, agriculture, industry, mining and others sectors that recently began diversifying and exporting their products to reach a wider consumer base abroad.
Moreover, the Sultanate recently ventured into large-scale projects in the renewable energy sector (solar and wind), which can be a vital source of national income and make more positive changes in other projects that need infrastructure in the future.
The knowledge sector too can play a prominent role in the economic diversification through focused and continuous attention in order for the Sultanate to become a hub for this sector in the region in the coming years.
These projects will strengthen national trends, which requires the authorities and the Implementation and Follow-Up Support Unit to continue to facilitate the tasks and the work of institutions and companies that intend to venture into these projects.
This is what His Majesty stressed on in the recent meeting with the Cabinet: the need to create a solid partnership between the public and private sectors to play a greater role in establishing productive projects that can provide job opportunities and create suitable and stable conditions for Omani cadres.
This can only be achieved by solving the problems of the private sector and providing it with more incentives.