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Operations underway to streamline taxi sector in Oman: Minister
October 16, 2019 | 11:14 PM
by Times News Service
 
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Muscat: The Sultanate of Oman is sparing no efforts in the field of logistics and transportation, according to Dr. Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Salim Al Futaisi, Oman’s Minister of Transport.

Al Futaisi’s comments came during a show aired on Shabiba FM, the radio channel of Times of Oman’s sister publication, Al Shabiba.

During the show, people were invited to ask the minister questions either over the phone, or on WhatsApp, or through social media channels.

Operations are currently underway to streamline the country’s taxi sector so that it is able to serve passengers at optimal efficiency, said the minister, who also touched upon the logistics development in the country.



While the issue of Omani taxi drivers and their organisation was one of the areas he addressed, the minister also spoke about issues like - the concerns taxi drivers faced at Muscat International Airport, as well as developments at the new Sultan Qaboos Port Waterfront project, which is under construction at Mina Sultan Qaboos on the Muttrah Corniche.





The minister said that the restructuring of the taxi sector in the Sultanate would not only bring better service to passengers, but also benefit taxi drivers.

He added, “We are facing challenges across many land transportation sectors, where we, unfortunately, faced rejections in our attempts to organise the taxi sector. We have faced challenges and the ministry approached the courts because we are trying to regulate this sector.”

He added: “The ministry is keen to unburden citizens and for this, the taxi sector should be organised. Concerns over fees paid by taxi drivers to the government should not be a reason for lack of regulations in the sector.”

“Everything is going well at the Muscat International Airport but we face a challenge with some taxis, as many tourists do sometimes complain about the high fees that are often required to transport passengers. It’s unfair that some taxi drivers compete with other metered taxi drivers who pay money to install these meters.”

Waterfront project

Commenting on the Sultan Qaboos Waterfront project, Dr Futaisi said that the developers of the project are committed to the project, which is located in an easily accessible part of town.

“The developer has made a great effort in the preparation of the property and procedures to finalise the agreement between the developer and the government are currently underway,” he explained.

Dr Futaisi added, “At the end of this agreement, the developer will have five years to implement the first phase and there are sanctions to withdraw the project if the developer does not commit to it.

“The developer has established a sales centre and as promised, this sales centre will be launched at the end of this year.

“While any investment in the period of global recession should be a concern, the fact that they are committed to it shows that the investors are serious and the project has received a lot of money, which is a positive indicator.”

The Minister of Transport also shed light on the ongoing development of the logistics sector in the Sultanate, which has been identified as one of the areas of expansion under the Tanfeedh plan for economic expansion.

Logistics and transport aside, there are four other areas of targeted growth, namely agriculture and fisheries, mining and energy, tourism, and manufacturing.

He said: “The logistics sector has been established as one of the sectors of economic diversification and what we witnessed from the drop in oil prices led us to adhere to the vision set for diversification and there is no other option but to be successful in these sectors.

“The petroleum sector is not suffering from low prices alone, but also from the emergence of alternative energies.”

“The idea behind the push in the logistics sector is to convince the world that Oman can serve as a centre for their service. Omani ports are not limited to serving Oman, but to deliver the goods of investors to two billion people surrounding the ports of Oman.

“The logistics sector has been chosen because Oman is ready for this, due to its location and investments that have been put into the ports of Oman and what the Sultanate has enjoyed because of stability, security and its welcoming attitude to the world. The sector is qualified for success and our vision must be similarly ambitious,” he added.

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