Over the last five years, the Public Establishment for Industrial Estates (PEIE) has been witness to progress in areas relating to the size of investments, number of projects, land area and national manpower in the sultanate. Towards the end of the third quarter of 2012, total investments in various estates amounted to approximately RO3.9bn, and the number of projects increased from 304 in 2007 to 1,267.
PEIE now assumes the management and development of more than 89mn sq m throughout Oman, and at the same time, provided more than 13,400 employment opportunities to citizens.
In this interview, chief executive Hilal bin Hamad al Ahsani discusses the achievements between 2007-2012 and the value additions, besides the general features of PEIE's long-term strategic plan for 2013-2025.
Can you highlight PEIE's achievements from 2007 to 2012 in terms of volume of investments, number of projects and national manpower?
Between 2007 and 2012, PEIE, throughout its industrial estates, achieved investment growth of RO1.49bn, at a growth rate of 62 per cent, whereas total investment in the various estates amounted to RO3.9bn at the end of the third quarter of 2012, and the number of projects increased from 304 in 2007 to 1,267, with a growth rate exceeding 300 per cent. PEIE also attracted a large number of SMEs, besides major industrial projects, considering the significance and importance of these projects in increasing employment opportunities and stimulating the economy. These projects provided 13,441 job opportunities to nationals, out of the 33,057 new jobs created. On the other hand, PEIE is now managing and developing more than 89mn sq m throughout Oman.
We are now two years into the 8th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015) in Oman. What has PEIE achieved from its investment programme?
Despite the difficulties and challenges faced by PEIE and the socio-political changes and developments in the Middle East, and their impact on economic performance, PEIE achieved satisfactory levels of the determined objectives and results in its investment programme associated with the 8th Five-Year Plan. By the third quarter of 2012, PEIE's various estates managed to attract local, regional and international investments, amounting to RO678mn. At the end of 2010, total investment amounted to RO3.2bn, and by the end of 2012 it had risen to RO3.88bn, exceeding the target by 23 per cent.
On the other hand, PEIE attracted 517 projects, including 153 projects in Samail Industrial Estate, and by the end of the third quarter of 2012 there were 1,267 accumulated active projects. Over 10,800 employment opportunities were also created in new and existing industries, increasing the manpower in various estates to more than 33,000 over the two years. Centres for contagious diseases were opened in Rusayl and Sohar in order to provide integrated services.
To follow up on the previous question, which current and intended projects do you plan to implement in the remaining term of the 8th Five-Year Plan?
Within the current plan PEIE has initiated several projects expected to be completed in the next three years. The Samail Estate now has 7.4mn sq m, and is expected to offer 5.2mn sq m 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 signed prior to initiating development of the estate. Also, we expect RO200mn in private-sector investments, and RO52mn of investments by companies with contracts. The estate is also expected to generate around 17,500 employment opportunities, with 7,100 employment opportunities expected from projects already inked. The 20km stretch of road is now complete with plans and designs with the Tender Board to complete the transactions required to float the tender for estate development.
The first phase of development of the Al Mazunah Free Zone has been tendered out, including basic services and utilities and government services for sovereign procedures, thus ensuring the provision of government services and procedures, while maintaining a separation from the customs territory. The development covers an area of 1.5mn sq m, and the contractor is due to commence activities by the end of this month.
The contractor for the Raysut Industrial Estate initiated work on the expansion project in December 2012. The project aims to accommodate the increasing demand for investment in the estate, and will include the entire infrastructure required fulfil investor requirements.
There are also plans to expand Knowledge Oasis Muscat (KOM) over three phases. The first phase includes the circular road complete with all services. The detailed designs are ready, which, following the arrangement of finance will be forwarded to the Tender Board. The second and third phases are expected to start upon completion of 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.
To accommodate increased investment requests and provide for the requirements of industrialists and industries at the Sohar Estate project, PEIE is planning to complete the services for all the phases (1–6) and develop the seventh phase covering 8mn sq m. The project tender for the main contractor is ready.
PEIE is expected to complete development of phase two of the Nizwa Industrial Estate during the first half of this year, when the technical plans and designs for expanding phases 3 and 4 will also be completed.
What are the value-added projects and administrative developments achieved in the last five years?
In its strategic programme PEIE focused mainly on value-added services and continuous development of its staff. Many objectives were achieved during the last plan (2008–12). Besides PEIE’s principal activities to develop and provide infrastructure and superstructure and e-services, our efforts towards achieving technical development were crowned with the Sultan Qaboos Award for Excellence in e-Government in 2012. Many achievements were made, notably, the launch of e-services for customers and investors, including e-maps, direct interactive services.
In 2012, PEIE introduced the 'Omani' campaign to promote local products abroad, having succeeded in enhancing the culture of these products locally through various activities and events covering all the governorates. PEIE organised the Omani Product Fair in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in cooperation with the Public Authority of Investment Promotion and Export Development (PAIPED) and the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OCCI), which saw the participation of more than 50 Omani companies from various commercial sectors. The four-day fair was well-received. The fair also included interactions between Omani participants and their Saudi counterparts, which helped conclude several business deals.
Continuing with initiatives to enhance consumer loyalty 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 their presence within the elements of the educational community - student, teacher and family.
PEIE also 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 to reduce the rate of failure of start-ups and to train universities and technical graduates on practical applications for the market. At the same time, NBC is seeking to achieve the national objectives, by increasing efforts for SME development by developing tailor-made strategies, and by encouraging major companies to enhance their relations with SMEs by increasing the demand for their products and services, in addition to accelerating the Oman Digital strategy, completing technical hubs and incubators, supporting programming and other IT services and providing scientific, technical and IT outputs for stakeholders, researchers, the business community and investors, in addition to expanding the availability of new employment opportunities for citizens.
PEIE, in cooperation with The Research Council (TRC), also developed the Industrial Innovation Center in order to contribute to providing product-focused research and studies, and to develop the industry according to international standards, in addition to providing the specifications and measurements acknowledged in international markets in general, and the sector-targeted markets in particular, and the changes thereon, along with details and information on competing products, and the provision of advisory services and solutions to develop products in line with the development of specifications and measurements, data on the cost of processing and prices, technical consultations to increase product quality and to reduce the cost of manufacturing to achieve competing quality and prices and to create a database for industrial innovation.
To ensure proper training for local manpower, PEIE created the Human Resources Development Center. This is in line with PEIE’s conviction of the importance of this role, and to contribute in the achievement of strategic objectives, especially relating to its mission in term of providing employment opportunities and ensuring added value.
Approximate total of investment in industrial estates
Strategic infrastructure and superstructure projects within the private sector
89mn sq m
Managed and developed by PEIE throughout Oman
Employment opportunities created by PEIE for nationals
Omanis trained under the Development Center for various industries
Omani product fair abroad organised by PEIE in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
In local and foreign investment attracted by PEIE