Muscat: An agreement to build a bus assembly plant in Oman was signed between the Oman Investment Fund (OIF) and Mowasalat, the national transport company of Qatar, here on Thursday.
The one million square metre facility, which will be the first in the Sultanate, will be built in Al Mudhaibi in the Al Sharqiyah region, at a cost of $160 million, Khalid Al Yahmadi, OIF general manager, told Times of Oman.
Full-fledged production facility
"Initially, it will start with assembling buses, and later on will be turned into a full-fledged production facility. We will start with complete knock down (CKD) now and will get parts from suppliers and will assemble the buses," said Al Yahmadi.
Once in operation, the plant will assemble 2,000 buses per year, he noted, adding that the target markets for buses are Oman, other Gulf Cooperation Council
(GCC) countries and North African countries.
"OIF is putting up 30 per cent of the total equity, which is around $48 million, and Mowasalat of Qatar is contributing about $112 million," added Al Yahmadi.
Construction is expected to start within six months and the facility will be completed two years after the start of construction, according to Al Yahmadi.
The agreement is seen as a step towards the development of Oman's auto industry, Al Yahmadi added.
"Four hundred to 500 jobs will be created for local residents once the facility is launched, and at least 200 people will be working on site during the construction phase," he noted.
Speaking to Times of Oman, Khalid Al Hail, Mowasalat's chief executive officer, hailed the agreement as a milestone in Qatar-Oman cooperation and said it will serve the interests of both countries.
Further, this 'strategic' project will help utilise the potential of Omani youth, Al Hail said.
An average of 2,000 buses will be assembled per year by employees working two eight-hour
shifts per day.
Output can reach 2,500 buses per year if the personnel work in three shifts, he noted.
Commenting on bilateral relations, Al Hail said that the relationship between Oman and Qatar is based on 'goodwill' and Qatar is keen to invest more in the Sultanate.
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