Oman Forum calls for creating more job opportunities

Business Monday 25/December/2017 13:42 PM
By: Times News Service
Oman Forum calls for creating more job opportunities

Muscat: Oman Forum 2017 made a strong pitch to nurture small and medium enterprises (SMEs), develop entrepreneurship and create employment opportunities for Omanis.
Abdullah Al Salmi, Executive President, Capital Market Authority (CMA) was the chief guest and Rashid Ahmed Al Shamsi, deputy chairman, Majlis Al Shura, was the guest of honour at the event held on December 20.
The Forum is an annual Arabic debate organised by the leading Arabic business magazine Alam al-Iktisaad Wal A’mal (AIWA), published by United Media Services (UMS). The Oman Forum brought together a broad spectrum of stakeholders, to share perspectives and ideas on job creation and sustainability of SMEs.
The 2017 edition comprised two panel discussions on sustainability and survival of SMEs and job creation and skill development. The event looked at how SMEs could stay resilient and survive in the current economic scenario and take on new opportunities aimed at motivating and inspiring entrepreneurs, especially in the backdrop of the Sultanate planning to create 25,000 jobs for Omanis.
Sheikh Salah Hilal Al Maawali, CEO, SME Development Fund set the stage for an animated discussion with his key-note address. Fourteen institutions are currently supported by the SME Development Fund, Al Maawali said adding that there are no magical or instant solutions to the challenges faced by SMEs. Team work is essential and the government must facilitate the SMEs with resources.
Large corporate houses should give the SMEs at least sub contracts to enable them to sustain and flourish in the market. He stressed that large firms in the private sector should allocate 10 per cent of their projects to SMEs. The SME Development Fund has tailored a set of products that are specially designed to provide SMEs with flexible funding to meet their needs, he added.
Sheikh Al Maawali said that commercial banks, which are unable to achieve a minimum lending of 5 per cent to SMEs should be penalised. Banks should grab the opportunity by extending lending to the SME sector, which constitutes 90 per cent of the corporate sector in Oman.
Falah Al Lawati, Business Development Leader, EY Oman in his presentation said that education plays a vital part in SME development.
Educational strategies should focus on every market sector. People need to be really fast in terms of innovation as there is something new in the market every day. Omani expertise has enhanced due to the growth in education, he said.
SMEs must use KPIs (Key Performance Indicator) as a measuring tool to analyse the business outcomes and ROI of the company, he added.