Investments in developmental projects total RO 816m in H1

Vision 2040 blueprint: French multinational bank praises Oman’s economic diversification efforts.

BUSINESS REPORTER
MUSCAT, OCT 3
Investments in developmental projects totalled RO 816.9 million during the first half of this year, underscoring a drive by the Omani government to accelerate the implementation of key infrastructure schemes.
According to the National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI), said the tally of investments in developmental projects is expected to rise significantly once an adjustment of the amounts currently listed under ‘Expenses Under Settlement’ is completed. Listed under this column are around RO 430 million in investments, Oman News Agency (ONA) said in a report, citing NCSI figures.
Oman reduced its spending in the first half of this year by 8.4 per cent to RO 6.5 billion, down from RO 6.6 billion for the corresponding period of last year.
During this period, a number of key infrastructure projects were completed.
The list includes the dualisation of the Nizwa-Thamrait carriageway, for which three contracts covering a total length of 401 kilometres were awarded at a total cost of RO 251.4 million.
In addition, contracts were awarded for the construction of two flood protection schemes in Dhofar Governorate totalling RO 46.8 million in investment, and a new hospital at Al Mazyounah at a cost of RO 15.3 million.
The value of the tenders awarded by the Tender Board during the first half of this year totalled RO 357.2 million. Awards included consultancy contracts for several road development projects, maintenance services for key government departments, supply of medical equipment to Royal Hospital, rehabilitation of road infrastructure damaged by recent adverse weather events, and the rental of premises for government offices.
Meanwhile, French multinational investment bank and financial services group Société Générale has praised the Omani government’s efforts to diversify the national economy. In a recent report, the Paris-headquartered institution lauded actions adopted by the government to put the national economy on the right track and to reduce the country’s dependence on hydrocarbons.
Oman, it noted, has put in place measures to diversify its economy under the “Vision 2040” plan, which aims to increase investment in tourism, financial services and logistics activities, stressing these measures are bearing fruit, as confirmed by the fact that the non-oil and gas economy now accounts for more than two-thirds of GDP, while inflation fell to 0.1 per cent in 2019.
Oman has experienced exceptional economic development since 2004, mainly due to the exploitation of its oil reserves, but growth rates in 2019 fell to 0.5 per cent, with oil production remaining limited by the Opec+ production cut agreement, as well as a slowdown in household consumption, the French bank said.
It noted that in accordance with updated IMF projections, given the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic, GDP growth is expected to decline to 2.8 per cent in 2020 and rise to 3 per cent in 2021, fuelled by an economic recovery, and an uptick in oil and gas output.