Muscat: There are opportunities abound for Lebanese businesses to invest in Oman, particularly in the industry and hospitality sectors, Lebanese investors visiting Oman said.
Businesses and investors from Lebanon on Monday had the chance to discover opportunities to do business in the Sultanate and meet Omani entrepreneurs during a series of meetings organised by the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OCCI).
A major sector where many opportunities await for the Lebanese is the industrial sector in Oman’s three developing ports of Duqm, Sohar and Salalah, Said bin Saleh Al Kiyumi, chairman of the OCCI said.
“Since Oman’s three ports are a strategy of the government, we wanted to present those ports to (the Lebanese) to discover which the possibilities are there (to invest) in Oman. But we would like them (to invest) in any of the sectors, be it industry, logistics, or tourism,” he said.
Al Kiyumi said that one of the incentives for the Lebanese to invest in Oman is ease of entry to the country. “Our Lebanese brothers can enter Oman without a visa; they take it directly from the airport. This visa cannot be taken by anybody else,” he said.
The ports of Duqm, Sohar and Salalah presented themselves as attractive investment areas for the Lebanese businesses, facilitated by a number of incentives offered by their free zones, including their strategic location, the possibility of foreign ownership, and tax exemptions. Another sector with many opportunities is the hospitality sector.
Charles Arbid, president of the Lebanese Franchise Association, said that they are looking for franchises in different sectors, including food and beverage, fashion and services.
“We consider Oman a big destination for Lebanese franchises. We want to promote, through franchising, the Lebanese way of life,”, e said. “We believe that through franchises, we can increase the presence of the Lebanese brand. This is the time when retail is developing and that’s why there is a big opportunity for franchises,” he added.
Fouad Makhzoumi, executive chairman and chief executive officer of Future Group and active in Oman since the seventies, said that the Lebanese can offer Oman investments in the hotels and restaurants, as well as fashion and software technology.
“It is about soft type investment, rather than the heavy industrial investments. Investors are now looking for opportunities to market their Lebanese brands, including fashion, jewellery and food,” he said.
Makhzoumi said that current Lebanese investments are mainly in construction and industry. He added that Oman is a new base for the Lebanese. “Normally, Oman was not the base the Lebanese were looking for. They looked at Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia. But as things are developing in the region, Oman should be a place the Lebanese should be looking into for the long term,” he said.
Political stability is another incentive to business here. Makhzoumi said that since Oman has never taken sides in the region and always took the position which would be the best for Oman and its neighbours, this has created a good environment to do business. “Oman offers stability and a clear vision. This has definitely created an atmosphere of “let’s do business,” he added.