Muscat: Over 150 delegates discussed the challenges and opportunities within the Sultanate’s economy during the BizOman Forum.
The event was held at the InterContinental Hotel in Muscat under the patronage of Talal bin Sulaiman Al Rahbi, Secretary General of the Supreme Council for Planning.
Al Rahbi said, “The Ninth Five Year Plan, of which we are now in the third year, is underway, and most of the execution has happened within the first two years of the five-year plan.”
“Looking forward, we are extremely busy drafting Vision 2040 and will showcase the first draft of this plan towards the end of 2018,” he added. “This will give us the guidelines for the next two decades in which we can draft our next five year plan, which should be the first implementation of Vision 2040 by the 10th Five Year Plan that will start in 2021."
Raoul Restucci, CEO of Petroleum Development Oman, spoke on technological changes affecting economies around the world. “I need to raise a sense of urgency. The speed of the world is changing now. Our pace, is the fastest pace we have ever seen,” he said. “The Fourth Industrial Revolution is upon us. The data, artificial intelligence (AI), automation — it’s a new lexicon that is driving a new way forward.”
According to a study cited by Restucci, "Nearly 45 per cent to 50 per cent of the jobs within the Middle East can be automised today. What does that mean to us? It would be a step towards change in productivity and efficiency, which is quite exciting. But it can be daunting, because it can also disrupt labour markets," he said.
Other speakers included Dr Yousuf Al Balushi, an economist for Vision 2040; Eng. Kalat Al Bulooshi, CEO of Oman Investment Corporation; Ibtisam Al Riyami, People & Change Director, PDO; and Hassan Jaffar Al Lawati.
A number of key economic topics were covered over the course of the opening day, including detailing policies and strategies businesses can adopt to overcome economic crises, opportunities within the logistics sector, and how to fully harness Oman’s potential.
Other topics of great interest were given by Al Balushi, who spoke about “The Future Economy – Realities, Opportunities & Challenges”; Al Riyami, who spoke about “Lean Philosophy”, a concept still not widely understood in Oman; and Faisal Al Balushi, who talked about “The Role of Economic Cities in Oman’s New Economy.”
Several ministries participated in a specialised panel discussion on Government Support, which was moderated by Sayyid Dr Adham Al Said, with participation from several ministries.