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Majlis Al Shura members discuss Transport Minister's statement
February 25, 2018 | 10:38 PM
by ONA
The statement of the Minister of Transport and Communications discussed various sectors of transport and communications in the Sultanate, including logistics, transport, aviation, port and maritime affairs, telecommunications and post, and Oman Rail. Photo-ONA
 
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Muscat: Majlis Al Shura on Sunday discussed the statement of Dr. Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Futaisi, Minister of Transport and Communications who presented the ministry’s statement during the 11th regular session of the 3rd annual sitting (2017 – 2018) of the 8th term (2015 – 2019) under the chair of Khalid bin Hilal Al Ma’awali, Chairman of Majlis Al Shura in the presence of Sheikh Ali bin Nasser Al Mahrouqi, Secretary General of the Majlis.

The session began with a speech by the Chairman of the Majlis who pointed out that the Minister of Transport and Communications will touch on several themes including the logistics sector and its contribution to diversifying resources of the national economy and achieving the comprehensive development of the promising sectors, addressing the initiatives related to the logistics sector, which was assigned to the Ministry of Transport and Communications.

He added that Dr. Al Futaisi will address in the statement the general features of the sectors of land transport, public transport, policies and laws governing land transport activities that aimed at regulating the activities of the two sectors, and serving the objectives and requirements of economic development.

The statement of the Minister of Transport and Communications discussed various sectors of transport and communications in the Sultanate, including logistics, transport, aviation, port and maritime affairs, telecommunications and post, and Oman Rail. The statement also discussed themes related to following up implementation of projects, updating infrastructure for the sectors, financing them and setting up investments in such sectors, as well as the areas of institutional development.



In its first focus, the statement addressed the logistics sector, which is being relied on driving the economic diversification as it links other sectors and as its success enhances the durability and sustainability of the Sultanate’s economy.

This trend illustrates the Government’s efforts represented by the Ministry of Transport and Communications to formulate the national logistics strategy 2040 and establish the Oman Logistics Centre to oversee the implementation of the strategy and the establishment of the Oman Global Logistics Group (ASYAD) in June 2016 and the Oman Aviation Group in June 2017.

Further, the statement referred to the conclusion of the logistics sector lab within the National Programme for Enhancing Economic Diversification (Tanfeedh).

The laboratory produced 16 initiatives assigned to the Ministry of Transport and Communications with the aim of increasing the contribution of the sector to the GDP to about OMR2 billion, as well as increasing jobs availed by the logistics sector to reach (80,000) jobs by 2020.

The Majlis members inquired about a number of topics, including standards and metrology based on the achievements of Muscat International Airport and the impact of the privatisation of the public transport sector on taxi drivers. The Majlis Al Shura will continue to discuss the statement of the Minister of Transport and Communications during the 12th regular session of the third annual sitting (2017-2018) of the 8th term tomorrow. The second theme of the statement discussed the road projects implemented by the Ministry in various governorates of the Sultanate. The length of the asphalt road network, which was supervised by the Ministry until the end of 2017, reached 14,840 km while the length of the dirt roads reached 17,281 km.

The statement pointed out that the ministry attaches a great importance to the quality management system and the road management system, which contributes to the development of the national economy by saving the cost of road users, such as fuel consumption, vehicle maintenance and time factor, as well as reducing the cost of maintenance of the current dirt road network after converting them to asphalt roads, and the development of industrial, environmental, commercial and tourism sectors, as well as the social benefits of citizens through the ease of social communication and economic growth, and opening new development areas.

The third theme focused on the ports and maritime affairs sector. The Ministry aims to achieve a number of objectives during the Ninth Five-Year Plan (2016-2020). The most important of these are the expansion of the sea ports through the improvement and development of equipment, the establishment and deepening of berths, the introduction of the necessary basic services, and studying future avenues of maritime transport, in addition to enhancing investment at free zones.

The fourth theme reviewed the general features of the airport projects and the rates of completion of the works. The Ministry started to rebuild the infrastructure of airports in the Sultanate, which included the establishment of Muscat International Airport and Salalah Airport, as well as regional airports in Ras Al Hadd, Duqm and Sohar. The new Muscat International Airport has witnessed significant progress in completion performance, and the airport is scheduled to open on 20 March 2018.

The statement of the Minister of Transport and Communications referred to the spread of telecommunication services and their diversity, as well as the introduction of modern services and technology in the Sultanate. Dr. al-Futaisi pointed out that the penetration rate of mobile services reached 155.87 per cent at the population level, with a prevalence of 7,136,173 million subscribers, fixed telecommunications to about 82.99 per cent on the housing level. The penetration rate of mobile broadband service was also high (3G and above) 95 per cent of the total population while the percentage of broadband through fiber optic reached 22 per cent in various governorates of the Sultanate. 44 per cent of the total housing was covered in the Governorate of Muscat alone. The number of users of the fiber optic network provided by Oman Broadband Company reached 40,000 active users. The number of government institutions connected to the government network reached 19.

In the postal sector, the statement pointed out that the number of companies operating in the postal sector is about 16 companies licensed to provide a range of miscellaneous postal services (117) outlets to provide services in the various governorates of the Sultanate, employing about (689) employees, (192) expatriates.

The Ministry of Transport and Communications said that Oman Railway is currently studying the planning and development of a local railway known as the “Metal Line,” which aims to facilitate the transport of mineral materials (gypsum and limestone) from Al Shuwaimiyah in the Governorate of Dhofar through Duqm Port to export to the world markets. The length of the line is 375 km and a royal decree has been issued on declaring the project as a public utility. The route will be designed to be operated among the GCC states and thus contribute to enabling infrastructure development in the area around the line. The

Public Authority for Mining (PAM) and Oman Minerals Development Company is currently studying the quantity of minerals in the zone and examining their economic feasibility so as the Oman Rail will then build the line.

After the Minister of Transport and Communications delivered the ministry’s statement, a number of questions and queries were raised by the Majlis members that focused on the development of infrastructure and permanent development of roads in the various wilayats and governorates of the Sultanate, as well as the ministry’s plans to develop the Sultanate’s airports, seaports and postal services.

The Majlis members inquired about a number of topics, including standards and metrology based on the achievements of Muscat International Airport and the impact of the privatisation of the public transport sector on taxi drivers.

The Majlis Al Shura will continue to discuss the statement of the Minister of Transport and Communications during the 12th regular session of the third annual sitting (2017-2018) of the 8th term on Monday February 26.

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