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Thursday, April 24, 2014  

Oman witnesses robust economic boom in 2012
MUSCAT The Sultanate has witnessed economic boom through the construction of a number of development projects, issuance of a number of Royal Decrees and decisions by the Council of Ministers during 2012, which all seek to push forward the Omani economy in different fields and meet needs of the coming stage in terms of diversifying sources of national income.

The State’s General Budget was issued at the beginning of 2012. The general revenue of the state for 2012 was estimated at 8.8 billion rials against 7.28 billion rials in the budget of the previous fiscal year, with an increase of 20.88 per cent.

The oil revenues were calculated on the basis of average price $75 per barrel and average daily production of $915,000 barrel. The general expenditure approved in the budget amounts to about 10 billion rials, with an increase of 800 million rials over the revised expenditure of the previous year by 9 per cent.

This year also witnessed the establishment of the Supreme Council for Planning, which stipulates that the Council will have a Secretariat-General that enjoys juristic personality, financial and administrative independence.

The Council held two meetings, the first of which was presided over by His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said. His Majesty the Sultan pointed to the role entrusted to the Council during the upcoming period, which lies on upgrading the strategies and mechanisms aimed at reinforcing the role of all productive sectors to achieve further accomplishments and reaching the level of sustainable development and the best utilisation of human and natural resources.

His Majesty the Sultan stressed on the importance of cooperation by all the state bodies in order to furnish the Council with precise information and statistics related to economic, investment and social activities. He said this would help the Council to prepare plans and development programmes and enable it to take well-studied decisions in accordance with the requirements of comprehensive development.

His Majesty the Sultan called for collaboration of efforts to absorb the Omani youth in different sectors and activities as they are the main pillar in accelerating the march of development and achieving its goals.

He also called on prioritising development projects so as to achieve a balance between different dimensions of economic, social or environmental development. The Council approved conducting the feasibility study for the establishment of areas for shipping, warehousing and clearance services at South Al Batinah.

It also approved the general policy framework for the telecommunications sector for next five years.

The Council also approved the establishment of a governmental company for broadband. As many as 50 million rials were allocated to implement a plan to clear the radio frequency spectrum that supports the development of the communications sector in all governorates.

The Sultanate’s participation at YEOSU Expo, which was held from May 12 to August 12, was successful. The Sultanate pavilion attracted more than 5,21,000 visitors, or about 6.4 per cent of the visitors to the expo.

The Royal Decree No. 69/2012 was issued in 2012. The decree amends some of provisions of the Banking Law to allow for the introduction of Islamic banking in the Sultanate.

On December 19, the Central Bank of Oman granted the final approval and the banking licence to Bank Nizwa, allowing it to do Islamic banking business in the Sultanate.

The Tender Board awarded 1.6 billion rials worth tenders for the implementation of development projects that meet needs of citizens, the development requirements in a number of sectors and providing the basic services in the Sultanate.

The Dry Dock Complex, which was opened in 2012, provided maintenance and repair services for 75 vessels.    

The Tender Board also awarded the Consultancy Service contract for Muscat International Airport and Salalah Airport to Hill International Company in place of Cowi Larsen Company. The new route between Muscat and Ja’aloni airports was also launched in 2012.

The Tender Board recently awarded a tender worth 50 million rials for the construction of liquid material terminal, Salalah Methanol Company and general cargo terminal at Salalah Port.

It also awarded the first package of Al Batinah Expressway (45km) at a cost of 138.9 million rials and the second package of the project (57km) at a cost of 123.2 million rials.   

The investments at the industrial areas in 2012 rose to 3.9 billion rials and the Omanisation rate rose to 40.5 per cent. The Sumail Industrial Area launched its first project, the insulated pipes project, raising the size of investments to 53 million rials. The area has 153 projects underway.

The Ministry of Tourism organised a number of sports, recreational and cultural events this year to mark the selection of Muscat as the Capital of Arab Tourism. The events aim at promoting the tourism potentials of the Sultanate in general and the Governorate of Muscat in particular.   

Oman News Agency
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