MUSCAT, JAN 5 – Marking an energetic start to the New Year, Salalah Free Zone (SFZ) yesterday witnessed the signing of a number of contracts for new projects, as well as the foundation stone laying of several prestigious manufacturing and industrial ventures at the free zone. Darwish bin Ismaeel al Balushi, Minister Responsible for Financial Affairs, presided over the formalities. Also in attendance were Sayyid Mohammed bin Sultan al Busaidy, Minister of State and Governor of Dhofar, Ahmed bin Nasser al Mehrzi, Minister of Tourism and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Salalah Free Zone, Shaikh Khalid bin Omar al Marhoon, Minister of Civil Service, and Dr Rasheed bin al Safi al Huraibi, Chairman of the Tender Board.
On the occasion, a usufruct agreement was signed for a new urea plant to be established on a 150,000 sq metre plot with an investment of around $285 million. The project’s annual output of 570,000 tonnes is targeted at markets in Africa, China and India. Around 550 jobs will be created by the project. Salalah Free Zone CEO Ali Tabouk also signed a Memorandum of Understanding for setting up an International Iranian Hospital with an investment of around $100 million at the free zone. The facility will be equipped with a number of specialties and operated by internationally qualified personnel.
Separately, an MoU was signed for the establishment of a Visa Medical Examination Centre at the free zone. The facility will provide medical check-ups and other documentation required as part of work permits sought by investors for their foreign workers based within the free zone. Also on Sunday, a milk products plant set up with an investment of $70 million was inaugurated at the free zone.
The factory will import 300 shipping containers of feedstock per month and export 250 containers of manufactured goods, representing 95 per cent of its output. The chief guest, Darwish bin Ismaeel al Balushi, also laid the foundation stone for a bus assembly plant to be established on a 50,000 sq metre plot within the free zone. The $50 million facility will be equipped to assemble 1,500 buses per year and provide jobs to around 350 Omanis.
The foundation stone was also laid for a carbonated water plant, which will be the exclusive distributor for the European ‘Aqua Life’ brand to be distributed in GCC, African and East Asian markets. Finally, the foundation stone was laid for a major steel industry complex value at $500 million. The factory will manufacture 150,000 tonnes of different types of products, 65 per cent of which will be exported to regional markets. The project will also provide 500 jobs.