Indian firms invited to invest in Oman’s industrial cities

Muscat: The Public Establishment for Industrial Estates, Madayn, organized the Oman-India Investment Meet at Crowne Plaza Muscat on Sunday in the presence of Yahya bin Said Al Jabri, Chairman of the Special Economic Zone Authority at Duqm and Chairman of Ithraa.

The event was attended by a high profile business delegation from India comprising 35 businessmen representing sectors including food, logistics, information technology, telecommunications, and renewable energy, in addition to a number of business and investment officials representing various public and private bodies in the Sultanate.

Speaking at the event, Hilal bin Hamad al Hasani, Chief Executive Officer of Madayn, pointed out that the event aims at bringing together top-level decision-makers to showcase the available investment opportunities in these industrial cities.

“This gathering represents an ideal platform to get acquainted with the incentives offered by the Sultanate in general and Madayn in particular to potential investors,” he said, adding: “The Sultanate of Oman and India enjoy long-term official, friendly, historical, cultural and economic relations. The industrial scene in Oman is seeing a dynamic investment activity from the Indian investors. In fact, the Indian investors are among the top three nationalities investing in Madayn’s various industrial cities across Oman. With the aim of boosting Oman-Indian investment ties, Madayn has set up a representative office in India to promote Oman and Madayn as an attractive destination for investments.”

Al Hasani then briefed the audience on the Sultanate’s industrial march which began its prosperous journey with the establishment of Rusayl Industrial Estate Authority back in 1983 as the first of its kind in the country. In 1993, the Public Establishment for Industrial Estates – Madayn was established to enhance the Sultanate’s position as a leading regional center of manufacturing, ICT, innovation and entrepreneurship excellence. Madayn aims at achieving its mission in attracting industrial investments and providing continued support, through regionally and globally competitive strategies, good infrastructure, value-adding services, and easy governmental processes. Today, Madayn is responsible for managing and operating seven prime industrial cities in addition to an ICT park and a free zone spread out over the country from the north to the south.

He added, “Today, we have more than 2,200 projects investing in Madayn’s industrial cities, which are employing more than 60,000 of workforce. By the end of 2018, the total volume of investments has touched more than $17 billion. Besides, work is underway to launch two new industrial cities in the country. The two cities will be the first to be fully developed and managed by the private sector through developers with international expertise in this field.”

Nasima al Balushi, Director General for Investment and Export at Ithraa, said, “Oman and India have ancient trading links. Links that remain as strong as ever today. In fact, Oman’s exports to India have more than doubled over the last four years. Over many years, our two nations have built shared interests in each other’s prosperity, in the generation of jobs, the development of skills and the enhancement of competitiveness. And today, we have the opportunity to not only build upon and strengthen this special relationship but also to come together and meet the challenges of the future.”

She noted that Omani companies are capitalizing on India’s outstanding growth and doing business across India in sectors as diverse as food processing, energy, infrastructure, tourism, fisheries, mining, and manufacturing. “The appetite to explore India is there. The number of Omani companies participating in recent trade missions to India is a testament to that and we certainly have the business experience and expertise to contribute to India’s continued economic success.”

Delivering his presentation, Jalal al Lawati, marketing and promotion Director at the Special Economic Zone Authority at Duqm, he explained that Duqm enjoys a strategic location, international relations, availability of diverse natural resources, multi-model transportation system, and ease of doing business. He also elaborated that the economic drivers include potential land area for development (total area of 2000 sq.km and 90 km coastline); export manufacturing platform – based on key economic sectors- petrochemicals, mineral processing, and fisheries-based industry; maritime transit hub and a logistics gateway; and an incubator of renewable energy and clean technology industries.

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Mustafa Al Lawati, acting CEO of Oman Investment and Development Holding Company (Mubadrah), stated that Madayn introduced Mubadrah to strengthen Public-Private Partnership (PPP). Mubadrah is undertaking constant efforts to attract international developers and operators in accordance with best practices in the development of industrial cities. Mubadrah aims at developing and improving the operational processes, competitiveness, infrastructure and facilities of the various industrial cities.

Lawati outlined the incentives offered by Madayn to the investors including lease period of lands and facilities for up to 30 years, renewable for the same period; right to sell constructions and buildings on the leased land; right to lease the buildings and facilities built on the leased lands by investors; right to involve new partners in the lease contract; exemption from tax on net profit for a period of five years for industrial projects; exemption from customs duties and taxes on production input; among other incentives. It should be noted that Madayn has introduced concessions with PPP for a period of up to 99 years and it is the only body that offers this kind of concepts in Oman.

Salah Al Zakwani, CEO for Business Development at Shumookh Investment and Services – the investment arm of Madayn, highlighted a brief on Shumookh. He said that Shumookh was established to develop globally competitive industrial infrastructure in the industrial cities and create the best environment for the growth of industries in Oman through attracting strategic partnerships to invest and implement diverse infrastructure development projects in the industrial cities of Madayn.

During the event, Trowers & Hamlins representative delivered a presentation on the requirements of setting up a new business in Oman, including approval process, legal and taxation, manpower recruitment, among other requirements. Additionally, two of the localized companies at Madayn’s industrial cities shared their successful experience in various sectors.

It should be noted that the Oman-India Investment Meet has offered an ideal platform to underscore the investment opportunities in Oman in general and Madayn’s industrial cities in particular. The event also provided a great opportunity to explore partnerships between the Omani and Indian companies and factories, which will eventually add value to the national economy and provide job opportunities for the Omani cadres in the industrial sector.

Oman Observer

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