Opportunities Galore

By Kabeer Yousuf — MUSCAT: March 15 – With a plethora of infrastructure, tourism projects currently under way complemented by highly strategic and socio-economic edges, the Sultanate is haven for foreign investments.
A detailed presentation on various projects where foreign investments are invited was made at the Oman-India investment seminar cum B2B meeting held at the Indian Embassy premises to the various multi-national companies attending the Big Show Expo being held in the country.
“In less than two hours from the major business centres of Asia and fast sailing times to Asia, Africa, Europe and North America, Oman’s investment potential is rather high,” Shahswar G al Balushi, CEO of Oman Society of Contractors, said in his talk on Oman Investments 2020.
The great FDI potential covers various sectors like the ambitious Oman Rail, power generation and transmission, desalination, logistics, petrochemicals, tourism and mining.
Around $15 billion investments are expected in Oman Rail in nine segments covering 12,000 km of rails, 10 million sleepers, 46 stations, eight maintenance yards and 40 million fastenings, while power generation and desalination are expected to have $6 billion in investments, as transmission is expecting $1 billion in investments. This includes 2,500 MW solar power as well as 500 MW of wind power.
“Logistics is expected to generate roughly $4.2 billion investments by 2020, which include Khazaen 95 km2, GCC land connectivity, and Salalah Port expansion,” Shahswar added.
Tourism, on the other hand, is poised to attract $1.8 billion investment by 2020 by way of ITC, leisure and hotels, while petrochemical industries are expecting a whopping $10.5 billion investments by 2020 in three major areas besides petrochemical, metal, non-metal and food sectors.
Added to these, the country’s non-oil exports have risen to $10.7 billion to 176 countries, while the Sultanate is a signatory to various trade agreements such as WTO, GCC common market, GAFTA, FTAs with US and Singapore, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Lichtenstein.
Oman allows foreign ownership up to 70 per cent in most sectors and 100 per cent in special cases and specific economic zones.
Added to this, experts who attended the high-level seminar opined that stability in economic, social and political arenas is yet another reason for investing in the country.
The major projects under way are also showcased to Indian investors. Mina Sultan Qaboos, a waterfront mixed use development to be implemented in six phases; Madinat Al Irfan, an urban centre within Muscat were also showcased.
With a Wadi Park as it’s spine and OCEC as anchor; Mall of Oman, a $1.33 billion investment to generate 350 outlets; Palm Mall Muscat are said to be the most promising projects besides other key infra projects.
“Above all, Oman’s unique manpower mix is yet another reason why foreigners should look at Oman with high investment potential. With 4.3 million people and 1.7 million employees over 239,000 registered businesses, foreign investments have greater security and wider room for growth,” Shahswar said.