Over the past five years, Public Establishment for Industrial Estates (PEIE) has witnessed several developments related to the size of investments, number of projects, the land area and the number of national manpower.
By the end of the third quarter 2012, total investments in various estates amounted to approximately OMR3.9 billion, and the number of projects increased from 304 in 2007 up to 1,267 projects.
PEIE now assumes the management and development of more than 89 million square metres throughout Oman, and at the same time, provided more than 13,400 employment opportunities for the local manpower.
In an interview, PEIE chief executive officer Hilal bin Hamad Al Ahsani discusses about the results during the 2007–2012 and the value added achievements, besides the general features of PEIE long term strategic plan 2013–2025.
Can you highlight PEIE results for the period 2007–2012, in term of the volume of investment and the number of projects and national manpower?
The result of the period 2007–2012 indicate that PEIE, throughout its industrial estates, achieved investment growth of OMR1,487 million, with a growth rate of 62 per cent, whereas total investment in the various estates amounted to OMR3.9 billion at the end of the third quarter of 2012, and the number of projects increased from 304 in 2007 to 1,267 projects at the end of the third quarter of 2012, with a growth rate exceeding 300 per cent.
PEIE also attracted a large number of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) along with major industrial projects, considering the significance and importance of these projects in increasing employment opportunities and stimulating the economic movement. These projects provided 13,441 job opportunities to the Omani nationals, out of 33,057 job opportunities created. On the other hand, PEIE is now managing and developing more than 89 million square metres throughout Oman.
It has been now two years since starting the Eighth Five-Year Development Plan (2011–2015) in Oman, can you tell us about the achieved objectives from PEIE's investment programme?
Despite the difficulties and challenges currently facing PEIE locally, and the sociopolitical changes and development in the Middle East in particular, and its impact on the economic performance, PEIE achieved satisfactory levels of the determined objectives and results in its investment programme associated with the eighth five-year plan (2011–2015).
By the third quarter 2012, PEIE various estates managed to attract local, Arab and international investments amounting to OMR678 million. At the end of 2010 the total investments amounted to OMR3.2 billion, and by the end of 2012 it has increased up to OMR3.878 billion, exceeding the target by 23 per cent. On the other hand, PEIE attracted 517 projects, including 153 projects in Smail Industrial Estate, and by the end of the third quarter 2012 there were 1,267 accumulated projects active in various investment activities.
As many as 10,823 employment opportunities were also created in new and existing industries, increasing the number of manpower in various estates to more than 33,000 jobs during the two years. A center for checking contagious diseases was opened in Rusayl and Sohar in order to provide integrated services.
To catch up with the previous question, what are the current projects, and intended projects for the remaining term of the eighth five-year development plan?
Within the current development plan PEIE initiated several projects destined to be completed in the next three years. The Smail Estate now has 7.4 million square metres, and is expected to offer 5.2 square metres of rentable areas for lease and investment in various industrial and service projects complementing the industrial sector. The estate aims to attract 345 projects, with 140 projects already signed in prior to starting the development of the estate. Also, we expect OMR200 million in private sector investments, and the investments of the companies with investment contracts amounted to OMR52 million. The estate is also expected to generate around 17,500 employment opportunities, with 7,100 employment opportunities expected from the projects already signed in. the 20-km log road is now complete with the plans and designs with the tender board to complete the transactions required to float the tender for the estate development.
Al Mazunah Free Zone
The Al Mazunah Free Zone project, the first phase development project has been tendered out, including basic services and utilities and government services for sovereign procedures, thus ensuring the provision of the government services and procedures, while maintaining separation from the customs territory. The development covers an area of 1.5 million square metres, and the contractor is due to commence its activities by the end of this month.
The Raysut Industrial Estate project, the contractor has already started developing the expansion project since December 2012. The project aims to accommodate the increasing demand for investment in Raysut Estate, and will include the entire infrastructure required in order to fulfill the investors' requirements. The contractor actively started this project in the last quarter of 2012.
There is also a plan to expand Knowledge Oasis Muscat (KOM) over three phases. The first phase includes the circular road complete with all the services. The detailed designs are now complete and following the arrangement of the finance will be forwarded to the Tender Board. The second and third phases are expected to start upon completing the first phase in 2015. It is anticipated that during the first quarter of this year we will complete the technical designs and studies for the mountain area and logistics at Rusayl Industrial Estate.
Regarding the Sohar Estate project, and to accommodate the increasing investment requests and provide the requirements of the industrialists and industries, PEIE is planning to complete the services for all the phases (1–6), and develop the seventh phase covering eight million square metres. The project tender is ready in order to select the main contractor.
Concerning Nizwa Industrial Estate, it is expected to complete the development of phase two during the first half of this year, and the technical plans and designs will be completed for expanding phase three and four.
What are the value added projects and administrative developments achieved in the last five years?
In its strategic programme PEIE focused mainly on the value added services and continuous development of its staff, many objectives were achieved during the last plan (2008–2012), beside PEIE's principal activities to develop and provide the infrastructure and superstructure and e-service development, and our efforts towards achieving technical development were crowned by winning the Sultan Qaboos Award for Excellence in e-Government 2012. Many achievements were made, notably, the launch of e-services for the customers and investors, including e-maps, direct interactive services and the transformation of PEIE's systems from manual to full e-services.
In 2012, PEIE also introduced the "Omani" campaign to promote the Omani products abroad, having succeeded in enhancing the culture of local products locally through various activities and events covering all the governorates across Oman. PEIE organized the Omani Product Fair in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in cooperation with the Public Authority of Investment Promotion and Export Development (Paiped) and Oman Chamber of Commerce & Industry (OCCI), and the participation of more than 50 Omani companies from various commercial sectors. The four day fair was well received and attracted good crowd. The fair also included a number of meetings between the Omani participants and their Saudi counterparts, thus contributing in the exchange of experience and concluding several business deals that will enhance the joint business cooperation.
In the same context, and in continuation of the initiatives to enhance consumer loyalty to the Omani products within the "Omani" campaign, PEIE recently entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Ministry of Education to disseminate the culture of buying Omani products and enhance its presence within the three elements of the educational community (student, teacher and family). Through this MoU, PEIE is seeking to introduce the Omani products and the importance of selecting it, implant the culture of self-employment and investment in the minds of the students, enhance the concept of working with the private sector, industrial sector in particular, and enhance the relation between the academic community and the economic and business communities.
The MoU also includes the organization of awareness and marketing campaigns within the schools across Oman, seminars, lectures and the formation of students working groups to participate in this campaign, in addition to having certain school activities associated with the campaign.
On the other hand, PEIE have expanded The Knowledge Mine (TKM) in KOM to host and develop SMEs, and created the National Business Centre (NBC) aiming to nurture and ensure the success of feasible ideas and IT focused projects and reducing the rate of failure of startups and train the universities and technical colleges graduates on practical applications as required by the market. At the same time, NBC is seeking to achieve the national objectives, represented by increasing the efforts focusing on SMEs development by developing tailor made strategies, and encourage major companies to enhance their relations with SMEs by increasing its demand on the products and services of the SMEs, in addition to accelerating the Oman Digital strategy, completing the technical hubs and incubators, supporting programming and other IT services and providing the scientific, technical and IT outputs for the stakeholders, researchers, business community and investors, in addition to expanding the availability of new employment opportunities for the national manpower.
Industrial Innovation Centre
PEIE, in cooperation with The Research Council (TRC), also created the Industrial Innovation Centre in order to contribute in providing product focused researches and studies, and to develop the industry according to international standards, in addition to providing the specifications and measurements acknowledged in the international markets in general, and the sector targeted markets in particular, and the changes thereon, along with the details and information on competing products, and the provision of advisory services and solutions to develop the products in line with the developments of specifications and measurements, data on the cost of processing and prices, technical consultations to increase the product quality and reduce the cost of manufacturing to achieve competing quality and prices and creating database for industrial innovations and its potentials for developing existing industries or creating new products.
To ensure proper training for the local manpower, PEIE created the Human Resources Development Centre to participate in the development of the local manpower and upgrade their practical skills. This is in line with PEIE's conviction of the importance of this role, and to contribute in the achievement of strategic objectives, especially the objectives relating to its mission in term of providing employment opportunities and ensure added value. Since the last quarter 2011 PEIE started organising series of courses, programmes, seminars and workshops targeting the workforce at the industries within the estates, dealing with various professional and administrative topics, and during 14 months more than 700 nationals have been trained, in addition to employees from PEIE and a number of government organisations.
In order to ensure partnership with the private sector, PEIE implemented major infrastructure and superstructure projects including KOM 4, the development of Al Mazunah Free Zone, the housing district in Raysut Industrial Estate, the utility building in KOM and the water project for Al Mazunah Free Zone, in addition to the development of 300,000 square metres of the industrial lands in Raysut. Consistent with the market trends, PEIE, in partnership with the private sector, established "Shumookh Investment Company" to implement several investment projects within the various estates, and in a short time the company completed more than 90% of the business service building at KOM, the formation of a public service and maintenance company based on technical foundation with an internationally reputed company, the water project in Al Mazunah Free Zone through a newly formed specialized company jointly with a professional company, and the water well is now complete, and the work is progressing to complete building and operating the desalination plant and the internal water network.
Concerning PEIE administrative development and upgrading, and in its effort to ensure quality and best practices, PEIE obtained the ISO 9001 for the operation of the CEO's office. Also, to keep pace with the development in the region in general, PEIE adjusted its organizational structure, and new departments have been created including the Directorate General for Marketing and Information, the Investment Dept., Call Center and Investor Service Dept. in addition to issuing new HR bylaws based on promoting individual and institutional performance, with clear job description for each function and stimulating incentives to enhance its ability to retain the best employees.
Can you give us a glimpse on the long term plan (2013–2025)?
PEIE completed its long term strategic plan 2013–2025 including the investment programme associated with Oman's development plan (2011–2015), within its continuous and methodological approach to contribute in the success of the comprehensive and sustainable development, and to ensure value added in various activities and sectors. PEIE's strategic objectives have been determined, together with integrated packages of constitutional goals, policies and programme for each strategic objective, based on the eighth development plan (2011–2015), long term development strategy and vision (1996–2020) taking into consideration the AGCC long term development strategy (2010–2025). In order to measure the performance, several digital and measurable indices have been determined for each objective within the plan. To achieve the objectives and policies, the execution timeframe has been divided into three phases, with the first phase in 2013–2016, followed by the second phase in 2017–2020 and the third phase in 2021–2025. The plan includes the projects, activities and programmes planned for the first phase 2013–2016.