Muscat: The Public Establishment for Industrial Estates – Madayn is currently implementing a number of key projects in Al Mazunah Free Zone.
Work is on track in developing phase one (second package) of the free zone, as the completion rate has reached 45 per cent, informed Said bin Abdullah Al Balushi, Acting Director-General of Al Mazunah Free Zone.
“The project of transmitting electricity to the companies (cables and transformers), which is being implemented by Rural Areas Electricity Company, has touched 95% of completion rate. Besides, the completion rate of the broadband project has reached 85%,” Al Balushi added.
Al Mazunah Free Zone is going to implement electronic surveillance systems (cameras and tracking systems) in the coming period at an estimated cost of OMR1.250 million. Additionally, a tender has already been prepared for establishing the Facility Building in the free zone. The Facility Building project aims to provide various services and facilities to the investors to facilitate investment operations under one roof. This will eventually boost the adding value of the free zone through integrated services, acceleration of the pace of business, and facilitation of procedures to finalise transactions.
The proposed project will be implemented in two phases on an area exceeding 11,000 square metres. Phase one will comprise four floors, while phase two (future plan) will add two more floors as per the requirements of the market at that particular time. A strategic, visible and easy-to-reach location has been allotted for the project.
Hotel and Access Management System
Efforts are underway to set up a hotel in the free zone to be constructed by the Omani Yemeni Group, Al Balushi pointed out. Furthermore, the free zone is now getting ready to commence with the project of cargo gates’ management through implementing a system that controls and manages the entry/exit of vehicles to/from the free zone. Madayn Access Management System (MAMS) represents key support of the infrastructure development strategy of the industrial cities, to be along the lines of the technology trends and contribute to the achievement of sustainable economic development sought by the Sultanate. MAMS will play a key role in facilitating and organising the movement of trucks and preventing traffic jams within the industrial cities. “The first phase of the project aspires to provide comprehensive, effective, safe and integrated solutions to organise, manage and control the entry/exit of trucks and vehicles for the employees and visitors through the smart gates system (iGates). The system aims to simplify procedures through the gates without any unnecessary delay or traffic jam. The second phase, on the other hand, will organise, manage and monitor the entry/exit of individuals,” Al Balushi said.
Al Mazunah Free Zone has witnessed significant growth in recent years. “By the end of August this year, the number of projects rose to 220 compared to only 33 during the same period in 2012. Besides, the volume of imported goods to the free zone has touched nearly 410,000 tons by the end of August 2019 compared to 10,000 tons during the same period in 2012. Meanwhile, the number of customs declarations increased to 4,500 during the period from January 1st to August 31, 2019, compared to 2,314 during the same period in 2018, noting an increase of 94%. The same period also witnessed movement growth of loaded trucks from the border points to Al Mazunah Free Zone from 3,301 in 2018 to 6,891 trucks, marking an increase of 109%,” Al Balushi elaborated.
The current total area of Al Mazunah Free Zone has reached 4.5 million sqm. In 2018, the free zone has received an additional 10.8 million sqm for the future expansions, which brings the total future area to 15,360,820 sqm. Al Balushi informed that three factories have officially been inaugurated this November. The first is specialised in water packaging and bottling, the second is specialised in napkins industry, and the third is specialised in the manufacturing of household appliances.
The free zone is currently studying a bid of establishing an economic dry port of the free zone. “This project shall save cost, time and efforts of the investors at Al Mazunah Free Zone, as well as provide shipping service from commercial warehouses and factories in the free zone to countries worldwide and vice versa,” Al Balushi stressed, adding: “The project will provide transportation between Salalah and Al Mazyunah, which will lower the cost of exporting Al Mazunah Free Zone’s products to the world. In addition, the project will benefit from the Yemeni manpower in loading and unloading work. The Dry Port shall play a role in relieving pressure on Salalah Port and eventually contribute to the development of the logistics sector in Oman according to the Sultanate’s strategic plans. We also aim at utilising the strategic location of the free zone in the best ways through making it the ideal location for storage, collection, distribution, packaging and re-export of goods to various destinations.”
The free zone is also studying to float a bid of establishing a residential city as an area has already been allotted for this project. “This project comes within Madayn’s strategy and vision to provide a variety of residential and recreational services in its various industrial cities,” Al Balushi remarked.
Al Balushi noted that Madayn has completed phase one of Al Mazunah Free Zone’s Eddah System (Bailment), which is an electronic system that incorporates the application of all rules and regulations related to operational controls in the free zone and entry of investors’ data as well as information related to the entry/exit of goods to and from the free zone. This system targets investors based in Al Mazunah Free Zone, investors from outside the free zone, clearance companies, shipping companies, employees at the free zone, and visitors to the free zone.
The one-stop-station at Al Mazunah Free Zone has commenced its operations. Business owners and investors can now have access to a set of services related to investment activities which are delivered under one platform and in a fast manner. To further facilitate the offered services, Al Mazunah Free Zone inked a Memorandum of Understanding with Investment Services Centre of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, for an electronic linkage with Invest Easy Portal. “As per this MoU, licenses for current projects in Al Mazunah Free Zone will be issued through the one-stop station. This cooperation shall save time and efforts and simplify the procedures,” he added.
The Directorate General of Customs of the Royal Oman Police is offering its services to investors, traders and operating companies at Al Mazunah Free Zone. These services are provided at the customs area, which has been developed as per the customs’ requirements in free zones in terms of gates, customs inspection, and electronic scales, among others. The customs area in the free zone represents an adding value that contributes to enhancing the commercial movement and the flow of goods from and to the free zone. Furthermore, the Ministry of Manpower’s office at Al Mazunah Free Zone is offering all the ministry’s services to the companies in the free zone. The office of Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry is also providing its services regarding the authentication of invoices among other services.
It is worth mentioning that Al Mazunah Free Zone was established under Royal Decree no. 103/2005 to operate under the management of the Public Establishment for Industrial Estates – Madayn. The strategic location of the free zone on the border of the Sultanate and Yemen makes it the Gulf gateway for transit trade to Yemen and Eastern Africa. The free zone aims at attracting local and international investments to increase the volume of trade exchange, attract advanced technologies, and create job opportunities. General incentives are offered to investors in the free zone, including customs’ exemptions, 100 per cent foreign ownership, no minimum capital requirements, and Omanisation rate stands at 10 per cent. Other incentives include easy access of individuals and investors to the free zone without entry visas being required for Yemenis, facilitation of employing Yemeni workforce without work visa being required, in addition to other incentives.