Jobs for 80,000 Omanis in logistics sector by 2020

Logistics sector will provide jobs to 80,000 Omanis by 2020, Dr Ahmed bin Mohammed al Futaisi, Minister of Transport and Communications, has said.
The number exceeds the target of employing 15,000 citizens each year.
Presenting the ministry’s statement at a session of the Majlis Ash’shura on Sunday, Dr Al Futaisi said the logistics sector lab within the National Programme for Enhancing Economic Diversification (Tanfeedh) had produced 16 initiatives with the aim of increasing the sector’s contribution to the GDP to RO 2 billion.
The session was held under the chairmanship of Shaikh Khalid bin Hilal al Maawali, Chairman of Majlis Ash’shura.
Shaikh Ali bin Nasser al Mahrouqi, Secretary-General of the Majlis, was also present.
The minister said with the new Muscat International Airport opening next month (March 20), a committee has been constituted by the Ministry of Manpower to look into employing workers engaged in airport project.
Their contracts are expected to end soon.
The statement discussed the road projects implemented by the ministry in various governorates across the Sultanate.
The length of the asphalting of road network, supervised by the ministry until the end of 2017, reached 14,840 km, while the length of the dirt roads reached 17,281 km.
The statement said the ministry attaches great importance to the road management system, which contributes to the development of the national economy by helping in saving fuel, vehicle maintenance and time.
“Asphalting helps reduce the cost of maintenance of the current dirt road network,” it said. The statement also focused on ports and maritime affairs.
The ministry aims to achieve a number of objectives during the Ninth Five-Year Plan (2016-2020). These include the expansion of sea ports through the improvement and development of equipment, establishment and deepening of berths, introduction of basic services, studying future avenues of maritime transport, besides enhancing investment at free zones.
It reviewed the general features of the airport projects. The ministry started rebuilding infrastructure of airports, including establishing Muscat International Airport and Salalah Airport as well as regional airports in Ras Al Hadd, Duqm and Suhar.
Dr Al Futaisi said the penetration rate of mobile services was 155.87 per cent, with 7,136,173 million subscribers, while landlines accounted for 82.99 per cent.
The penetration rate of mobile broadband service (3G and above) was 95 per cent of the total population.
The percentage of broadband via fibre optic was 22 per cent across governorates.
A total of 44 per cent of homes were covered in the Governorate of Muscat alone.
The number of users of fibre optic network provided by Oman Broadband Company reached 40,000.
The number of government institutions connected to the government network reached 19.
The ministry said Oman Railway was studying the development of a local railway line called the ‘Metal Line’, which aims to facilitate the transport of mineral materials (gypsum and limestone) from Al Shuwaimiyah, Dhofar Governorate, via Duqm Port for export.
The length of the line is 375 km.
A Royal Decree has been issued declaring the project a public utility.
The route will be designed to be operated within the GCC states.
The Public Authority for Mining and Oman Minerals Development Company is studying the quantity of minerals in the zone and examining the economic feasibility of building the rail line.
After the minister delivered the statement, a number of questions were raised by the Majlis members on the development of infrastructure and roads in different governorates as well as the ministry’s plans to develop airports and seaports.
They also enquired about the impact of privatisation of public transport sector on the taxi drivers.
Replying to a Suhar representative who suggested transforming Suhar airport into an international one, the minister said the airport was indeed an international airport with airlines such as AirArabia and Qatar Airways operating from it.
“We are also looking at making Sohar airport operate at night,” Dr Al Futaisi explained.
The minister also said there are plans to extend ports, starting with the Sultan Qaboos Port which will be submitted to an external developer in conjunction with Oman Tourism Development Company (Omran).
The Majlis Ash’shura will further discuss the statement of the minister on Monday.