Muscat: Multi-pronged efforts to support local businesses and SMEs were announced by the Ministry of Economy on Sunday.
Small and medium enterprises (SMEs), in particular, have been among the hardest hit by the pandemic, the Ministry said, adding that “they require support in the form of direct government aid, legislative reforms, and economic stimulus to recover, reduce their economic costs, and ensure their market viability.”
The eight new multi-pronged efforts include among others, e-Commerce programme initiative, winter nights festival, creative industries incubator, manufacturing incubator, establishing emerging agricultural manufacturing SMEs in cooperation with Haya Water, industrialisation initiative in cooperation with Mazoon Dairy Company, entrepreneurship education platform and consultation to support SMEs affected by the pandemic.
To accelerate recovery of these enterprises from the repercussions of COVID-19 and to maximise their contribution to the economy, the Ministry of Economy has announced an initiative to support the SME sector, in partnership with the Public Authority for Small and Medium Enterprises Development (Riyada).
The plan is also targeted at achieving the high growth rates outlined in Oman Vision 2040 and has five core themes. The first covers incentives linked to taxes and fees, the second covers measures to further improve Oman’s business and investment environment, the third is aimed at SMEs, the fourth is related to incentives for the labour and employment market, and the fifth theme covers banking incentives that support government efforts to mitigate effects of the pandemic on Oman’s economy, the Ministry said.
“We expect these initiatives to reduce risks to SMEs, help them actively contribute to Oman’s macroeconomics, harness technology and innovation to improve their products and services, and create an integrated local market for their products and services through marketing,” Dr Nasser bin Rashid Al Mawali, Undersecretary, Ministry of Economy, said.
“These initiatives can help achieve goals and objectives of the 10th Five-Year Development Plan and focus on this sector’s vital role in economic diversification and Oman looks to maximise contribution of non-oil sectors to the GDP,” he added.
Halima bint Rashid Al Zariya, Chairperson of Riyada, said, “The Ministry of Economy’s initiative to support the SME sector comes as a continuation and translation of the efforts made to enhance the growth of the national economy. It is also part of the economic stimulus plans that the government has embarked on to support and enhance the sustainability of SMEs that have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.”