Officials from Special Economic Zone Authority at Duqm (Sezad) said that they wanted to get local communities more involved in Duqm, besides drawing in more Omani investment.
They added that Sezad’s goals were two-fold, one was to attract the foreign investors in building ‘anchor projects’ and the other was to make sure that local communities took full advantage of the benefits, emanating from these projects.
According to the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) rules in the Duqm free zone, 10 per cent of all government procurements should be allocated to Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) within the zone.
Sezad officials disclosed that they wanted to ensure that Omanis would be actively involved in the SMEs associated with the core projects. Marketing and Promotion Manager at Sezad, Jalal Al Lawati, said that the free zone authorities were travelling around the country to ensure that more Omanis would be made aware of the opportunities associated with projects in Duqm.
“Firstly, we want to attract foreign investment for the anchor projects. Then, there is the matter of the SMEs associated with them. We want to make sure that Omani interest in these ventures does not dip. So, we are visiting different chambers, such as Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OCCI) to attract more Omanis to take part in these businesses.
“We have a department under Sezad that ensures that 10 per cent of all government procurements under this free zone is allocated to the SMEs. For instance, once the Duqm Refinery is complete, we can expect a lot of related industries to take advantage of this state-of-the-art facility,” Lawati added.
‘Vital projects already there’ Director General, Investment at Sezad, Saleh Al Hasani, said that the establishment of vital projects in the region was a sign of things to come. “The government procured the necessary financial resources to establish a number of vital projects in the region such as dry dock and the port. The other successes have been distribution of electricity and water, the construction of the main port, tourist facilities and integrated logistic services, and the development of legislation in keeping with the global best standards.
“Sezad is constantly looking to attract investment from home and abroad. We are also supporting SMEs and providing facilities that encourage them to work in the region,” Hasani added.
Hasani emphasised on the much talked about strategic location of Duqm. “Duqm sits at the mouth of the Indian Ocean and is close to the major shipping lines. Its proximity to the East Africa, Iran and the Indian subcontinent makes it a very important port city,” he added.