Industry contributed RO 5.3 billion to GDP

By Staff Reporter — MUSCAT: Feb. 6 – Over the past 15 years, industrial sector’s contribution to the GDP has increased from 7.5 per cent in 2000 to more than 10 per cent in 2014 and by the end of 2015, the industrial sector has contributed about RO 5.3 billion out of the total GDP of RO 26.9 billion. Nevertheless, it is clear that the fall in oil price has put pressure on total GDP. This was stated by Ali bin Masoud al Sunaidy, Minister of Commerce and Industry, during the Industrial Innovation Forum here on Monday.
He said oil price fell below $30 a barrel last year. Today, the price has almost doubled. Nevertheless, it is roughly 50 per cent of 2014’s oil price. The government has taken various regulatory and fiscal measures over the last two years to manage this challenge, but Oman — and many other nations alike — must still deal with various challenges at local, regional and global level. “We believe that manufacturing can do better to help compensate for the diminishing returns from oil, here; the way forward would be through industrial innovation.” The forum was organised by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry as part of the celebrations for Oman Industry Day.
The forum, presided over by  Dr Rawya bint Saud al Busaidiya, Minister of Higher Education, underlines the special focus given to the industrial sector by the government as it is one of the important economic pillars of the country.
The meeting stressed that it is important to focus on technology innovation to promote industrial development.
Dr Al Sunaidy said the Research Council has made serious efforts to promote science, technology and innovation based on a study by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development as part of a National Strategy Project for Innovation in Oman.
He also mentioned about the agreement with the Academy of Scientific Research and Technology in Egypt.
Nine Omani employees will be subjected to training by the World Intellectual Property Organisation.
He also said the new electricity tariffs for industries will lead the companies to push for innovations in terms of energy saving and focus on the renewable sources like the solar energy.
He added that the increase in the cost of recruiting foreign unskilled labour should be one reason for the companies to pursue innovation.
The forum was aimed at creating a framework for continues coordination between the private and public two sectors to help find local and global expertise in the field of innovation that it crucial for the industrial development of Oman.
It also stressed on the need for more financial support in the field of research and development.
It was said that the surveys conducted by the Ministry of Higher Education with regards to the requirements of the industrial sector, it was felt that there is a need to focus in the area of innovation and entrepreneurship at the school levels.