Sohar Industrial Estate investments exceed RO 2bn

SUHAR, OCT 6 – Sohar Industrial Estate organised recently a meeting to brief companies and factories on the new investment regulations of the Public Establishment for Industrial Estates (PEIE) and Masar Investment Window. The meeting, which was held under the auspices of Hilal bin Hamad al Hasani, Chief Executive Officer of PEIE, also discussed the challenges facing the investors in the current stage. “There are more than 315 projects in Sohar Industrial Estate, which are providing more than 16,000 jobs. Besides, the investment volume in the estate has surpassed RO 2 billion,” Al Hasani pointed out, adding: “The area of the estate has touched up to 30 million square metres. These are positive indicators that the estate is enjoying a good investment climate.”
Al Hasani affirmed that PEIE shall continue to provide services and facilities for the investors and industrialists as this meeting is only part of the efforts undertaken by PEIE to identify current challenges facing them and make efforts to overcome them. He added that this meeting offers a good opportunity to introduce the upcoming initiatives of PEIE and the initiatives that will be launched next year, including Masar Investment Window. Masar aims at integrating the services provided by PEIE to the investors directly as well as the services provided by other government bodies through one governmental platform for data exchange and completion of procedures.
Speaking at the event, Abdulqadir al Balushi, Director-General of Sohar Industrial Estate, explained that PEIE has been providing basic services and improving the existing services in order to provide an investment environment suitable for the investors and industrialists. “Currently, the infrastructure in the estate’s seventh phase is being executed, which covers an area of 8.8 million square metres and includes internal roads, extension of water networks, drainage, irrigation and rainwater protection works. The completion rate in this project has touched around 70 per cent. Besides, PEIE is currently preparing for the project of completing services for the third to sixth phases as the project’s tender shall be announced before the end of this year,” Al Balushi pointed out.
He added that PEIE, represented by Sohar Industrial Estate, continuously seeks to provide various services to the investors. “PEIE has established an integrated township for the workers and engineers with a capacity of 4,000 employees. The project offers furnished residential units with reasonable prices for companies. Furthermore, the facility building in the estate will be inaugurated before the end of the current year, which will include supporting services such as Masar Investment Window, restaurants and offices for rent.
Investment Regulations
On his part, Jaafar al Ajmi, Director of Operations in Sohar Industrial Estate, delivered a presentation to highlight the new investment regulations of PEIE. Al Ajmi noted that the promulgation of the Royal Decree No 32/2015 has given PEIE more powers and advantages that contribute to organising and developing the investment movement. The Royal Decree states that PEIE shall collect the fees for municipal services it offers to companies, establishments or commercial representative offices or their Omani or foreign branches licensed to practice the approved activities within the PEIE estates.
Moreover, after the approval of the Council of Ministers, the PEIE Board of Directors shall designate sites within PEIE-affiliated estates for the bodies concerned with provision of necessary services to licensed investment activities. This shall include the services related to issuing licences, approvals or visas, registration of activities or other services. One or more employees shall undertake the prescribed specialisations as per the laws, Royal Decrees or regulations on these services within the purviews of the estate. The functioning of these parties shall be in line with a decision issued by the Minister of Commerce and Industry after liaising with them.
Furthermore, after the approval of the Council of Ministers in accordance with the PEIE board’s recommendation, it is permissible to exempt some PEIE-affiliated estates or some investments therein from all or some provisions of the Foreign Capital Investment Law and the Commercial Companies Law, as well as the prescribed Omanisation percentage in accordance with rules in force. These estates/investments may also receive other exemptions or incentives not stated in this Decree.
Masar Investment Window
Mohammed al Hinai, Director of PEIE’s Communication and Investor Service Centre, briefed the attending industrialists and investors on Masar Investment Window. He explained that Masar aims at completing licence transactions in a fast and effective manner within a relatively short period of time. According to Al Hinai, Masar aspires at providing a flexible, easy and transparent interaction between the business community and the government, besides providing a reliable and secure environment for the companies to conduct day-to-day transactions with the concerned bodies.
Shumookh
On his part, Ahmed al Zakwani, Chief Operations Officer at Shumookh Investment and Services, gave a brief on the township project and the facility building in Sohar Industrial Estate, which are being developed by Shumookh. He also elaborated on the upcoming projects in the estate. It should be noted that Shumookh Investment and Services SAOC is the investment arm of PEIE. It aims at developing infrastructure projects and encouraging investment in the industrial estates under PEIE. The vision of Shumookh is to develop globally competitive industrial infrastructure in the industrial estates of PEIE and create the best environment for the growth of industries in Oman through the attraction of strategic partnerships to invest and implementation of diverse infrastructure development projects in the industrial estates of PEIE.
Discussion
An open discussion then took place during the meeting with the investors in Sohar Industrial Estate. The discussion was facilitated by Musallam bin Mohammed al Shehri, Assistant Chief Executive Officer of PEIE for Operations. The investors focused on the new investment regulations of PEIE, the services offered by Masar Investment Window, and the current challenges facing them. Al Shehri explained that the new investment regulations of PEIE gives the investor an added value, besides regulating the relationship between the various bodies involved in the investment process. He noted that Sohar Industrial Estate has received additional areas of up to 8 million square metres and there are expansion plans to localise more projects.
Al Shehri stressed that there are efforts undertaken by the estate’s management with the Ministry of Transport and Communications to establish an alternative of the cancelled roundabout in the industrial estate in the previous period. In the same context, the ministry, in cooperation with the estate, has made efforts to connect the sixth phase with the seventh phase to Al Batinah Expressway by assigning a specialised company to implement the project. He informed that the company has started to work on the project recently and it is expected to be completed during the second half of next year.