The Sultanate of Oman has seen a marked increase in foreign direct investments (or FDI). That figure is up 128.7 percent from the amount recorded in 2006 and has reached RO 5,000 million. The National Economy Minister, Ahmed bin Abdulnabi Macki, made a statement to the Observer about the five-year development plan that has recently been completed (covering 2006 to 2010, the seventh plan of its kind put into place). Macki, who is also the Financial Affairs and Energy Resources Council deputy chairman, stated that the plan has a positive influence on domestic and foreign investments, pushing the volume to RO 14.1 billion, which was a 110 percent increase in comparison to the previous five-year development plan’s investment programme. The previous plan was the sixth and ran from 2001 until 2005.
The Minister noted that various efforts have been put forth to create an improved climate of investment, especially focused on encouraging FDIs.
Due to these efforts Oman’s investment climate is healthy and much improved. The sultanate provides technological, physical and industrial infrastructure, has implemented amendments to the laws governing investment and improved the incentives. The corporate tax rate reduction has made Oman’s rate the region’s lowest, standing at 12 percent down from 30 percent, according to Macki.
More simplified administrative procedures and regulations are a goal of the government, as is the avoidance of red tape. After all of the efforts put forth, the results were RO 5,029 million in FDI for 2009. These figures were positive and an increase of 15.3 percent from the 2008 data, as well as 128.7 percent up from 2006. FDI is directed mainly at the industrial sector, as well as services and tourism.
It should be noted that FDI flow is not strictly confined with development project financing. It can also be extended to the transfer of the latest technologies, the adoption of more modern management styles, job generation and technical training provisions which will increase the skills of Oman residents and open up new foreign markets for products made in Oman.
There is a favourable economic climate in Oman that attracts and is open to serious investors. Future prospects look very promising and all sorts of investors, whether global, regional or national, are likely to see the immense benefits of Omani investments as the sultanate’s economy grows further.Paul Holdsworth, Staff Writer, Gulf Jobs Market News