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Forum to devise roadmap for SMEs in Oman
October 28, 2013 , 8 : 40 pm GST
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The three-day MEED Oman Projects Forum 2013 is focussing on SMEs and exploring opportunities in Oman’s $112 billion market for major projects. -A. R. Rajkumar/TIMES OF OMAN
As the MEED Oman Projects Forum 2013 took off yesterday, all indications pointed to the fact that the small and medium enterprises (SME) sector will emerge as an engine of growth for the private sector. The three-day MEED Oman Projects Forum 2013 is focussing on SMEs and exploring opportunities in Oman's $112 billion market for major projects.
Delivering the opening remarks, MEED Events chairman Edmund O'Sullivan said Oman is a trading nation and has enjoyed decades of peace and stability. He said the forum will come up with a comprehensive roadmap for setting up and running successful SME businesses in the Sultanate.
Edmund further said, "GCC is the starting point for your strategy in the Middle East. The five factors that support GCC growth are oil and gas, economic diversification, population growth, globalisation and governance."
Participating in a panel discussion on 'International and local case studies on developing successful SMEs', Issa Al Ismaili, executive director of Oman World Tourism, said, "We began with a start-up capital of OMR20,000 and it took us five years to sustain. We sell Oman as a destination. A good team with just the right skills is very important for any service industry. We are also involved in many tourism investment projects. We all need to support the SME sector for the over-all development of the country."
Raphael V. Parambi, CEO of National Company for Projects & Management, observed that the SME Development Fund is aimed at supporting small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
"Our survey reveals that to promote SMEs, there are four identified factors — creation of entrepreneurial culture; nurturing; financing and legitimising."
He said that senior people need to guide younger entrepreneurs who are not mature enough to take correct decisions.
Speakers reviewed Oman's initiatives to promote growth of the SMEs, highlighting the role of the Public Authority of Small and Medium Enterprises in driving development in the sector; initiatives to facilitate the development of the SMEs to create a more diversified economy and updates on Oman's comprehensive infrastructure plans to support entrepreneurial ventures, champion innovation and foster the growth of a business culture.
Figures compiled by the MEED Projects show that 40 major projects are being executed or planned in the Sultanate. Of these, almost 25 per cent are in the construction sector, which is dominated by plans to build a new town in Duqm.
National rail programme
A similar amount of capital investment is planned in the transport sector. This includes the $15 billion national rail programme. Oil and gas projects combined account for almost $40 billion of the major projects being executed or planned in Oman.
Oman is already pushing ahead with many major projects. Around $40 billion worth of them are under execution, though some of the larger ones are at an early stage of development. But the largest portion of the Omani major project programme is yet to come to the market.
More than $50 billion of major projects are under design or study. Some $56 billion of major projects under execution or planned are due for completion by the end of 2017. All $112 billion of projects are due for completion by the end of 2022, MEED's figures show.
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