Oman is open for business, investment despite pandemic constraints: Ithraa

The Sultanate capitalized on its well-developed transport infrastructure and its proximity to promising consumer markets to keep trade routes buzzing despite global supply disruptions induced by the pandemic –a success that underscores Oman’s value proposition as an investment destination, according to a top official of Ithraa – the country’s investment promotion and export development flagship.

Azzan al Busaidi (pictured), CEO, said the country’s three main maritime gateways at Suhar, Duqm, and Salalah handled as many as 200 ships per week during the pandemic, connecting Oman with as many as 86 ports in 40 countries around the world.  This degree of connectivity, notwithstanding the collapse in global supply chains resulting from the pandemic, attests to the distinctive advantages that the Sultanate affords international investors when they set up operations here.

“Oman has many attributes that make it a favourable investment destination,” said Al Busaidi.  “Its economy is resilient, the country enjoys great connectivity, the infrastructure is world-class, and the access offered to markets is something we are proud of. While we have a limited market compared to the Indian subcontinent, businesses operating from Oman – whether from the special economic zones or free zones or indeed from any part of the country in general – enjoy access to markets that are home to an estimated two billion consumers, across India, parts of Asia adjacent to Oman, as well as the Arabian and East African markets.”

The official made the observations during the ‘Oman-India Investment Webinar’, an online panel discussion hosted recently by the Special Economic Zone Authority of Duqm (SEZAD).

Despite the lockdown measures in place during the pandemic, it was “business as usual” for many investors operating in the Sultanate, as they took advantage of the country’s principal gateways to import and export goods relevant to their business, Ithraa’s CEO noted.

Earlier, Al Busaidi highlighted the upward trajectory in Oman-India trade and economic relations. “According to the Commercial Registry at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, we have more than 4,100 Indian businesses registered in Oman, either fully owned or in partnership with Omanis. Bilateral trade is in excess of RO 1 billion. This makes India one of our largest trading partners. But we believe there is still plenty of room to increase either the presence of Indian businesses in Oman or increase our trade volumes.”

Ithraa, he said, was committed to easing the way for international investors considering a presence in the Sultanate. The ‘InvestinOman’ platform launched recently by the agency serves as a gateway for businesses around the world looking to gain access to the Omani market, he stated.

“This platform includes a number of investment opportunities that could be considered by businesses in different sectors. Today, InvestinOman has more than 30 investment opportunities available either in the Duqm SEZ or elsewhere around the country.”