Muscat: Tanfeedh, the national programme for enhancing economic diversification starts today at the Institute of Public Administration in Al Khuwair.
With the blessing of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said, the second phase of the Tanfeedh project will bring together ministers, undersecretaries, representatives of the private sector, academia and civil society who will take part in full-time workshops or ‘Labs’ for a period of six weeks.
Tanfeedh is a national initiative, which is part of the 9th Five-Year Development Plan (2016-2020), and has been launched in collaboration with the Malaysian government’s “Performance Management and Delivery Unit (PEMANDU)” in order to build upon the achievements of the previous plans, with a focus on targeted sectors.
The targeted sectors identified by the Royal Decree (1/2016) are manufacturing, tourism, transport and logistics, mining, and fisheries. The programme will focus on raising the contribution of these sectors to the Sultanate’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), increasing investment in these sectors, and creating more job opportunities.
Believing in the importance of defining priorities for the next phase and building on the efforts already exerted by different authorities, the role of Tanfeedh is to link the different strategies of the targeted sectors together, and provide a platform for sustainable partnership between the public and private sectors to best serve society.
The ‘Labs’ phase that begins today follows the first phase—“Defining Strategic Direction,” and is the second step in the eight-step programme.
The ‘Labs’ phase will start by addressing the manufacturing, tourism and logistics sectors, in addition to enabling two sectors—creative financing and the labour market. The second stage will cover the mining and fisheries sectors, aligning the five main diversification sectors of the Development Plan.
From September 18 to October 26, the executive framework of the programme will be identified, outlining priorities and encouraging investments, such as zoning sites for tourism investment and formulating steps required to promote and support these sectors.
The ‘Labs’ phase will align the qualifications of the Omani workforce with the requirements of each sector, taking into account the needs of both the employers and employees.
It will also examine financial issues through two work streams: firstly, boosting government revenues through efficient spending and finding new sources of income, and secondly, by looking for new sources and mechanisms to finance projects, through maximising the private sector’s role.
The government is seeking to encourage self-funded projects to promote economic growth and development driven by private sector investments. In this context, the government has already made efforts to ease the means of doing of business and making private investment.
The results so far show that these measures are either insufficiently known in the market or that there is still extra work needed for the Sultanate to compete globally and regionally.
During the ‘Labs’ phase, two types of projects will be discussed: those pre-approved as part of the ongoing Five-Year Development, but not yet funded, and projects that will be brought up in discussions during the ‘Labs’ phase.
The discussions will aim to establish mechanisms for financing projects through the syndicates of private investors, developing criteria for assessment to better allocate projects to appropriate groups of investors, provide feasibility studies and evaluate the attractiveness of projects for the private sector.
The ‘Labs’ phase will also consider amendments in financial regulations and policies in order to make projects more feasible. It will analyse views on the investment climate in the Sultanate and propose methods to attract domestic and foreign investment.
The Sultanate seeks to diversify sources of national income, create more opportunities for job seekers, find alternatives to promote the national economy, and reduce dependence on oil, especially amidst the current crisis. It also intends to adopt a mechanism for job classification to define the requirements, specifications and qualifications required for each strategic sector.
The objectives of Tanfeedh involve creating a promising job market for the Omani youth, and strengthening the private sector as a key partner in the development of the national economy, providing a stable work environment that offers different job opportunities in various fields for graduates and reduces the employment burden on the government sector.
The programme aims to better organise the Omani job market for nationals with the cooperation of stakeholders, overcoming the obstacles that prevent them from contributing efficiently to the labour market, and discourages investment.
The ‘Labs’ phase will provide a motivational environment for discussion during six weeks and during this period, it will also build trust, integration and partnership between the government sector, private sector and society.