Duqm: To increase Duqm’s population to a 100,000 by 2020, the city’s Special Economic Zone Authority (SEZAD) has employed a three-pronged strategy aimed at making the town a thriving metropolis in the future.
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In addition to constructing an extensive road network in and around the city, SEZAD is also working to expand Duqm’s airport by next year, and is investing heavily in real estate to support the population, which will be needed to run the jobs generated by the special economic zone.
Twelve road construction and expansion projects, which have been commissioned by SEZAD, are underway, while another four are currently in the pipeline. These projects have been awarded to a host of construction and design firms, including Parsons, Renardet, Galfar, Al Hajjary Trading, Khaled Ahmed and Sons, United Gulf Construction and Nespak.
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“We want to build the right infrastructure here in the form of roads and public services so that Duqm is easily accessible for people, and so that once this is done, private investors can come in and build houses, schools, supermarkets, clinics etc. for the people who will be living here,” said Hussein Al Zadjali, head of building projects at SEZAD.
“Right now, everyone wants to go to Muscat because it is the capital and centre of Oman’s business and industry, and in the south, Salalah is an important population centre, but we believe that with the right incentives, people will be motivated to come here to Duqm in the future,” he added. “A big incentive for people to come here is that unlike the rest of the nation, which has an Omanisation target of 30 per cent, ours is just 10 per cent so more skilled workers can come and live here.”
Plans are also underway to upgrade and expand Duqm’s airport. In anticipation for the future, a four-kilometre runway that can handle some of the world’s largest and heaviest aircraft has already been constructed.
In addition, SEZAD’s airport expansion has been designed to handle half a million passengers a year, as well as a cargo terminal building that is capable of storing up to 50,000 tonnes. Construction has already begun and is expected to be completed next year.
To promote real-estate development in Duqm, SEZAD has partnered with a number of private and public organisations to build housing communities that are fitted out with a host of facilities, including, shops, laundry services, fitness centres, clinics, schools and religious facilities.
One such example of this is Duqm Frontier Town, a 52-hectare gated community containing both villas and apartment blocks for future residents of Duqm, which was the result of a 50-50 partnership with Omran and Korea’s Daewoo Shipbuilding.
Phase one of this plan, which spans about 23 hectares, has been completed at a cost of OMR32 million.
Another housing effort launched by SEZAD was directed at residents in Duqm and the surrounding areas, which have been affected by construction activities on the land they’re living on. In part compensation for these people, SEZAD hired Hussain Fadhil and Partners to build 150 homes in what will one day become the centre of the city.
“We have a responsibility to the people of Duqm because our activity on their land is affecting them,” explained Al Zadjali. “We bought their land via a Royal Decree and are obligated to give them compensation for this, and part of that are the six-bedroom villas we have given each family. We want to do more for them in the future.”
“These were built at a cost of OMR20 million, and are only 10 kilometres from the Port of Duqm, so in the future, any family who works there will be within easy access of the companies located in Duqm,” he added. “We are giving these houses to them for free and many of the families have already seen these houses and are very happy with them.”