Muscat: Omani Minister of Commerce and Industry Ali bin Masoud Al Sunaidy said that industrial units should focus on creating 'genuine' jobs that will last for years to come.
The minister said that the main though temporary challenge facing large industrial units was related to gas allocation.
"We are waiting for the new fields to kick-start towards the end of 2017. So some of them are waiting for extra allocation of gas to double their capacity," he said.
He added that while these manufacturers are planning expansion, they should also conform to the Omanisation policy. "We need to make sure that there are enough Omanis working (in these industries)."
So the important thing that these units should consider is how to make these industries more attractive for Omanis, the minister said, adding, "That is the biggest objective of why we are trying to support manufacturing."
According to him, the process should bring added value and create more wealth for the country. The second point is to create genuine jobs for Omanis that will continue to be there for many years to come, he noted.
"It is very high on our agenda. So every manufacturer that comes and asks for more gas allocation or extra services, we ask them what they are ready to do in terms of creating more jobs."
Non-oil exports target
Asked about efforts to boost non-oil exports, he said that downstream industries should be addressing markets like Africa and Asia.
He added that the ministry is doing its best to help them by providing the necessary platform to them.
The ministry continues to exempt such industries from duty on raw material and from income tax for five years, a move which is reviewed and can be extended for another five years, he said. "This is a policy that the country still continues to follow and I think that helps."
"The exemption from paying duties on imported machinery is still there. We also see ODB (Oman Development Bank) continuing to do the funding in recent years," Al Sunaidy added. "We are also seeing private banking becoming more influential and more participating in funding goods and services."
The minister said that the targetted increase in the volume of export of non-oil goods made locally is eight to ten per cent every year.
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