New initiatives to put real estate on positive path

MUSCAT, Jan 9 – The 2018 will be crucial for a diversified Omani economy as the government stresses on implementing the initiatives of Tanfeedh, pertaining to the improvement of investment climate, enhancement of the private sector’s role and boosting investment rates in GDP.
The announcement on the Real Estate Investment Trust funds (REITs) on Sunday is expected to help this vital sector with a mega boost, feel sources in the real estate.
With its proven ability to generate jobs, any incentives to pep up the real estate and construction sectors are the need of the hour, say the sources in the industry.
According to a Shura member, “There are several important projects in the pipeline in the construction and tourism sectors and Duqm, and with the economy recovery we can hope for a positive outlook in 2018.”
REITs also give the expatriates in Oman, who form over 40 per cent of the population, to invest in some of the exiting and upcoming projects.
With the need of more than 4,000 hotels rooms over the next few years for the international tourists, which is the expected to grow in double digits, the construction sector offers a lot of potential for investment.
To facilitate more international tourist arrivals to the country, the government has initiated the E-visa system.
The Ministry of Tourism in recent months launched a few projects, including the heritage sites, which will be managed by the private sector.
The popular destinations include the Nizwa Fort, eco-tourism projects and Ras al Hadd turtle watching spot.
According to World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business, Oman (ranked 31) has been improving on its rankings every year — it takes only six days to start a business in Oman, compared to 18.6 days on average in Middle East and North Africa (MENA).
The country also offers favourable climate when it comes to getting construction permits (ranked 61).
The focus will be on enhancing the public-private partnership (PPP) to accelerate investment in more projects and private sector
initiatives.
This is to be realised while maintaining fiscal balance at macroeconomic level.
The government seeks to maintain an adequate level of public investment, with the aim to enhance economic diversification, increase employment rates and strengthen social development, the budget statement said.
Already, several investment projects have been initiated in Duqm, including the refinery, storage terminal, Karwa Motors, Sino-Omani Industrial City, Sebacic Oman Bio-Refinery for Production of Derivatives of Castor Oil and the Little India Tourism Complex, the budget statement said.

Vinod Nair