Muscat: There was a fall in the number of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the Sultanate in the first quarter of 2017, compared with the same period of last year.
The number of SMEs in the Sultanate declined by 31.2 per cent year-on-year in the first quarter of the current year, according to a recent report issued by the National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI).
The Sultanate registered 2,759 SMEs between January and March 2017, down from 4,013 as of March-end last year. However, their numbers logged a 40.7 per cent increase in March, compared with figures for the previous month.
By the end of 2016, there had been as many as 23,221 SMEs operating in the country. The Governorate of Muscat has the highest number of SMEs at 930, but marked a 9.4 per cent decline in the number of SMEs in the first quarter of last year, which stood at 1,026.
Dhofar registered a significant 43.6 per cent drop in SMEs to 167, as against 296 small units during the same period of 2016, while Musandam maintained its number at 12.
Al Buraimi too witnessed a drastic 45.7 per cent drop in the number of SMEs, which declined to 44, from last year’s 81. The trend continued in the governorates of A'Dhakhiliyah and Al Batinah North, with the number of SMEs shrinking by 55.4 per cent and 48.9 per cent, respectively, to reach 379 and 399 SMEs by March-end.
A'Dhahirah logged a 36 per cent slide in SMEs to 174, as against last year’s 272, while A'Sharqiyah South and North saw SME numbers slip by 15 per cent and 18.3 per cent, respectively, to 164 and 178 as against last year’s 193 and 218 (in the first quarter).
In contrast, Al Wusta and Al Batinah South registered a strong growth in the number of SMEs at 16.7 per cent and 8.9 per cent, with figures reaching 42 and 270, respectively, by the end of the first quarter of 2017.