Muscat: The Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MoCI) said that the industrial sector in Oman was gaining strength with stable and positive mid-term outlook.
Oman's gross domestic product (GDP) achieved a real growth rate of 2.9 per cent from 2015 to 2017. This is in the period when the world economy started recovering since the end of 2016.
Engineer Sami Salem Al Sahib, Director General of Industry in MoCI, said: "Oman's manufacturing sector has maintained a stable growth rate of 2.6 per cent during 2015 to 2017. This was the result of the National Programme for Enhancing Economic Diversification (Tanfeedh). It was also due to the continuous investment for expanding the base of the manufacturing sector in the country."
He said that the industrial strategy also calls for the development of manufacturing sector and urges for massive expansion in strategic industries and adapting Fourth Industrial Revolution as part of the efforts to boost industrialisation.
The Ministry of Commerce and Industry would continue to play its leading role in the formulation of the in-country value (ICV) for the industrial sector and it is contemplating adoption of best international practices and taking into account the multiple interests of partners in this field. The ministry is supervising preparation of ICV strategy and is looking forward to present it within a year, he said.
Sami Al Sahib said that the ICV was defined as the total expenditure retained in the country to benefit business development, help human capacity development and stimulate productivity in local economies. ICV in the manufacturing sector has achieved significant development in the long term in addition to this it requires strategic planning and implementation of policies, monitoring and evaluation and massive perseverance.
"During the work on ICV, a short term additional commitment will be applied on companies operating in the industrial sector. However, ICV offers the possibility of reducing long-term supply chain costs while providing new opportunities for the local economy,” he said.
Al Sahib expressed his expectation that the implementation of the ICV would help in expansion of manufacturing base in the country, encourage the transfer of technology, increase employment of locals and expand the local ownership base, as well as help in increasing investments in the manufacturing sector.
Al Sahib expressed his optimism about the important role the new investments would play in the manufacturing sector. "The new investments will strengthen and expand the industrial sector of the Sultanate.
He said that the rapid growth in the manufacturing sector of the Sultanate was due to the government's efforts to expand the manufacturing base and increase the sector's contribution to GDP and said that the manufacturing sector would remain an effective force for boosting the growth of the Omani economy.
"The industrial strategy 2040 has set long-term GDP forecasts for the Sultanate. According to it, it is likely that about 30 strategic industries would play a major role in the growth of the country's industrial sector. This is due to the abundant resources, capital and extensive knowledge and awareness in these areas," he said.
He expected the simplification of current policies and procedures would play an important role in encouraging new start-ups, particularly in the high-tech sector, which will act as an important supporter of the country's economic development.
Dr Charles Fang Qinzheng, an economist in the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, said that in view of the current changes in the global trade and geopolitical uncertainties in the trade routes, the industrial establishments which are producing for export were considered very sensitive to the rates of change in global demand for industrial products.
He said that although the Omani economy was showing strength, continuous industrial development and diversification were key for achieving the results aimed by the strategic vision 2040 for the Omani economy. The Omani factories should keep up with the Fourth Industrial Revolution by adopting the latest technologies, industrial automation and technology transfer, as well as the restructuring of the current workforce and development of their skills to increase the utilisation of new opportunities.(