Muscat: Iran offers ample investment opportunities for Omani entrepreneurs as the country is gearing up to execute several projects in a wide range of industries.
“Iran is ready for investment and the country plans to develop infrastructure projects, hotels and modern technology. We invite Oman to invest in Iran’s capital market (as well),” said Ali Akbar Sibeveih, Iran’s ambassador to the Sultanate.
He was addressing a roadshow in Muscat to discuss opportunities created by the re-opening of the Iranian economy to foreign participation, as well as an in-depth discussion of Iran’s capital markets.
He said Oman and Iran have strong bilateral relations and the lifting of sanctions offers ample opportunities. “Iran is blessed with oil and gas, minerals, gold and many other minerals.”
Sibeveih said that the external debt of Iran is low, which is an attraction for those who plan to invest there. The external debt stands at less than two per cent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).
A high-level delegation from Oman, including Yusef bin Alawi bin Abdullah, minister responsible for foreign affairs; Dr Ali bin Masoud Al Sunaidi, minister of commerce and industry; and Hamoud Sangour Al Zadjali, executive president of the Central Bank of Oman, has recently visited Tehran to strengthen bilateral relations.
Iran, which holds the world’s fourth largest oil reserves and the second largest stocks of natural gas, has successfully privatised several state-owned companies and investors can either directly discuss with the government or acquire shares from the stock market. As many as 500 companies are listed on Iran’s stock markets.
Iran protects foreign investors from political risks. Further, Iran is party to 60 bilateral treaties, which helps to protect the interest of foreign investors.
In fact, Iran has received $50 billion of its frozen assets and the country will receive another $50 billion soon. “The pre-reserves, which are now freely available, are more than $100 billion. It is in different shapes and forms.... some of these are committed, others are free and some are yet to be liquid. All these were frozen money due to sanctions,” noted Dr Ahmad Azizi, advisor to the president of the Central Bank of Iran, while addressing a panel discussion.
Dr Azizi also noted that the inflation rate in Iran has been coming down from 45 per cent in 2013-14 to less than 10 per cent now.
Crude oil production
Iran plans to ramp up its crude oil production to 4 million barrels a day within few years. However, the current market price is not helpful for any oil producing country to raise output. “Before taking any decision (on raising output), Iran has to consider global market condition,” said the ambassador.
The share of oil sector in Iran’s gross domestic product is around 15 per cent, while service sector constitutes more than 15 per cent in GDP.
Iran’s leading financial conglomerate and senior members of Iranian government bodies met over 150 international investors in Muscat, Oman on Wednesday to discuss inward investment opportunities across a range of Iran’s sectors and industries.
The roadshow was hosted by Sina Financial & Investing Holding, Iran’s leading financial holding company, and included participants from Iran’s Ministry of Economic Affairs & Finance, the Securities and Exchange Organisation, the Tehran Stock Exchange, Iran Fara Bourse, and CSDI. Private sector participants included Sina Bank, Sina Insurance, Sina Leasing, Behgozin Brokerage Company and Magellan Capital.
Iran is the Middle East’s most diverse economy, with a well-established capital market, a developed industrial base, and a large population of just under 80 million. There is significant and growing demand for corporate and consumer services such as telecommunications and banking. In 2014, Iran’s GDP was approximately $437 billion, making it the world’s eighteenth largest economy.