Muscat: Oman’s Minister of Housing and Urban Planning said that the Ministry is addressing several issues integral to Oman’s Economic Vision program and was committed to develop all governorates of the Sultanate to address the issue population concentration in Muscat, which currently has 29 per cent of the total population of the Sultanate living and working there.
In an interview to Oman TV at the Economic Vision program, His Excellency Dr. Khalfan Al Shuaili, Minister of Housing and Urban Planning said, “We have to create a different culture to fulfil our ambitions. The Economic Vision strategy research has shown that 911,000 housing units will be required over the next 10 years. 40 per cent of the land under usufruct has not been developed and this mechanism must be reconsidered.”
He further highlighted the initiative to introduce usufruct rights for expatriates in areas outside integrated tourism complexes that started in 2021. “The focus currently is on finding the best sites for investment while linking them to a network of essential services. We are also looking to sustainably revitalise and develop existing areas to enable them to play a role in economic development,” he said.
Adding that his Ministry was not only a service ministry, but also played an economic role, the Minister said that requests had come in from business owners to see the draft strategy document which is an indicator of interest. “Simplification of procedures for investment will lead to reduction in license granting times and encourage integrated investment programs. The aim is to triple the contribution of the mining sector in Muscat. The Urban Renewal Program in Muscat, includes the Ghala industrial zone.”
He called on developers to construct projects around the Al Batinah Expressway and the Al Batinah Coastal Road. Discussing other decisions, he said, “The wilayat of Barka will remain within South Al Batinah and rural housing in Dhofar will not change its nature and planning. We also have plans for Salalah to enable it to remain a competitive tourist destination.”
On the real estate sector, Dr. Al Shuaili said, “The ministry has a program to stimulate the sector. Last year, the sale and purchase numbers reduced from 5 per cent to 3 per cent. The new scheme granting usufruct rights for expatriates will rely on maintaining the savings of expatriates in Oman, enabling them to own the property according to the system.”