Muscat: The Public Authority for Special Economic Zones and Free Zones (OPAZ) boosts the growth of Omani industries in its affiliated zones through the well-developed infrastructure that enables establishing various industrial projects.
In addition, the zones provide a set of incentives and facilities, so these projects and industries contribute to backing the In-Country Value (ICV) of the national economy and increasing the volume of Omani exports to global markets.
In this regard, Dr. Said bin Khalifa Al Quraini, General Manager of Investment Development in OPAZ, underscored the importance of the Council of Ministers’ directives to promote Omani industries and develop a national policy aimed at reducing imports, increasing exports and enhancing ICV.
Al Quraini explained that the industries in OPAZ affiliated zones have played a pioneering role in introducing the national product into the supply chains of large and transformative industries, and working to facilitate introducing a service system to involve SMEs and logistical services that support foreign projects. Such system also serves acquiring relevant skills and know-how, especially in the growing technological revolution towards using the artificial intelligence (AI) the industry, as well as building a skillful national workforce to provide many services for these projects.
Regarding the zones where industries are concentrated, Al Quraini indicated that the industrial cities all over the Sultanate of Oman host a number of national industries, given that they target the local and GCC markets. As for the special and free economic zones, they include more foreign projects, which in turn contribute to connecting and communicating with the global markets and strengthening the country's trade balance.
“The industrial cities and their economic growth in the governorates have contributed to empowering SMEs through the business opportunities offered by factories to these enterprises, generating job opportunities and supporting the In-Country Value”, commented Dr. Said Al Quraini on the important role of industrial cities in developing the governorates and their contribution to economic growth.
Further, the governorates strive to achieve economic diversification through setting up various industries and economic activities. They also integrate with the big projects operating in the different zones supervised by OPAZ. “The integration between Sohar Fee Zone, Port of Sohar and Sohar Industrial City has highly thrived the growth of commercial and economic movement in the Governorate of North Al Batinah in particular, as investments in these zones exceed over RO 11.7 billion in sectors of manufacturing and petrochemical industries, logistics and food services, and clean energy projects” Al Quraini pointed out.
On the other hand, Al Dakhiliyah Governorate witnessed commercial boom in the marble industry and its byproducts and spare parts used in oil concession areas, which contributed to the establishment of other businesses to support the factories specialised in this industry. However, in Salalah Free Zone and Raysut Industrial Zone in Dhofar Governorate, a number of pharmaceutical industries have concentrated, with investments value reaching OMR76.5 million.
“Al Wusta Governorate is home for the Special Economic Zone at Duqm (SEZAD), in which the volume of investments exceed over OMR3.6 billion, including Duqm Refinery and the Crude Oil Storage Park in Ras Markaz, in addition to hosting clusters of modern industries, most notably those related to renewable energy that received a great demand from a number of international companies to localise clean energy projects in SEZAD. Accordingly, an area spanning 250 square kilometres has been allocated for renewable energy projects and two projects, specialised in the production of green hydrogen, are already under preparation and construction”, Al Quraini explained.
He further added that there is a high interest from other local and international companies to set up green energy plants due to their integration with clean energy-producing projects, including the green steel production project for the Jindal Company. This plant will integrate with projects producing green hydrogen for the manufacture of green steel and aluminium for export to many countries worldwide. Other factories include Karwa Motors, Duqm Hongtong Piping Factory, those specialized in food industries and many others.
Dr. Said Al Quraini confirmed that OPAZ is going on to strengthen the role of its affiliated zones in the various governorates. This reflects OPAZ belief in the importance of integration in enhancing ICV and empowering SMEs. Moreover, it supports the efforts of governors in developing diversified economic sectors in the governorates in general, whether by transferring know-how and exchanging expertise to develop qualitative economic activities in line with the comparative advantage with each governorate. Besides, this could be achieved through the services provided by companies operating in OPAZ affiliated zones areas to individuals, SMEs, and local community entities.