Salalah Free Zone has signed an agreement with an investor in the United Arab Emirates for the establishment of a Technology City with an investment of around $350 million.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed to this effect envisages a Technology City for innovation and fourth-generation (4G) technologies, said Ali bin Mohammed Tabouk, CEO of Salalah Free Zone. The City will feature a Data Park, technology academy and support facilities covering an area of 500,000 square metres.
It is the latest in a string of recent investments that have underscored the free zone’s robust investment appeal. “We signed so far seven investment agreements during the first half of this year, taking the total number of projects signed to date in Salalah Free Zone (SFZ) to 88, representing around RO 3.3 billion ($8.7 billion) in total investments, with the potential to create more than 8,000 direct jobs,” said Tabouk.
Among the recent signings is a contract for the construction of the second phase of Al Mazaya Logistics Station, which offers 134,000 sq metres of storage area and land for the development of facilities and amenities for tenants in the free zone, he said.
Welcoming Salalah Free Zone’s role in driving the economic diversification of Dhofar Governorate, Sayyid Mohammed bin Sultan al Busaidi, Minister of State and Governor of Dhofar, said “The Free Zone in Salalah is considered one of the most important fruits of the blessed renaissance, which aims to support development efforts in Dhofar and contribute to the diversity of sources of income and the growth of the national economy. We commend the successes achieved in Salalah Free Zone and its aspirations to become a global and regional center for attracting investments.”
Ahmed bin Nasser al Mahrazi, Minister of Tourism and Chairman of Salalah Free Zone, said: “The SFZ’s success in attracting RO 3.3 billion in investments will translate into developmental benefits for the national economy while also spawning business opportunities for national companies and SMEs. These investments will also support job creation for citizens and drive technology inflows. Within this framework we continue to organize promotional campaigns in target markets such as India, Turkey, Iran, South Africa and other markets with a focus on attracting quality investments in logistics, manufacturing, and innovation-based technology.
Dr. Abdullah bin Ali al Omari, First Deputy Chairman of Majlis A’Shura, said: “SFZ has achieved an Omanisation rate of about 89 per cent at the management level and 36 per cent generally, which is higher than the percentage specified in the Royal Decree 62/2006 for establishment of the free zone. SFZ has announced a Knowledge Academy project with an investment of $20 million to support skills development.”
Eng Ali bin Salem Omar Fadel, Vice-President of Dhofar Municipality, member of the Municipal Council in Dhofar Governorate, commented: “SFZ is now the headquarters for dozens of international companies that take advantage of Salalah’s strategic location to maintain global transport lines, which provides easy access to a large number of global and regional markets. These companies export their products abroad and bring foreign currencies to the Sultanate and contribute to tax revenues, support the introduction of new technology and technical skills, and so on.”
Shaikh Jassim bin Abdullah al Misnad, Chairman of Philex Pharmaceuticals Industries at SFZ, stated: “Our pharmaceutical project, which is currently under development in the free zone with an investment of $365 million, will create more than 300 job opportunities. The complex aims to produce more than 100 compound pharmaceutical types for export to the Middle East and North Africa, and we expect the plant’s construction to finish in the third quarter of 2020.”