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Free zones leading investments in Oman

1 Jul 2020

The Middle East’s comprehensive logistics provider, ASYAD, has announced that the number of investment projects at Sohar Freezone and Salalah Free Zone last year reached 120 with an estimated value of RO3.7bn in various industrial and logistic activities.

In line with the Sultanate’s Logistics Strategy (SOLS2040) and Oman 2040 Vision to attract local and foreign investments and to develop an integrated logistics system allowing local products to reach international markets, ASYAD Group is working in cooperation with the relevant government entities towards improving the competitive advantage of the sultanate’s free zones.

With world class and advanced infrastructure, the sultanate’s free zones offer investment incentives, tax exemptions and simplified procedures for licenses and permits supporting the free zones’ competitive business environment.

Omar Mahmood al Mahrizi, CEO, Sohar Freezone, said, “Today, Sohar Freezone is home to 44 industrial projects in various sectors such as metals, petrochemicals, food industries, etc and witnesses an increase in the number of companies occupying the warehouses and offices that is part of the package of innovative solutions offered to the investors.”

“The occupancy of the total leasable area of the three development phases has reached 301.4 hectares by the end of 2019, with 63% occupancy of the area in the first phase,” Mahrizi added.

The CEO also stated that the focus of Sohar Freezone is on integrated downstream projects that offer business opportunities and grow ICV, such as attracting industries that depend on the polyethylene product which will be produced in the Liwa Plastics Industries Complex (LPIC). 

He stressed that Sohar Freezone encourages investors to benefit from the integrated logistic system of the port and the free zone. “We also target the manufacturers who consider their proximity as a key value proposition to reach their consumer markets regionally.” 

Highlighting on the One-Stop-Shop (OSS) of Sohar Port and Freezone, Mahrizi explained that the OSS is a single window for investors to obtain all necessary requirements to set up and operate their businesses efficiently and effectively. The OSS provides multiple key services under a single window that has enhanced resources to deliver high quality services. 

Mahrizi added, “The investors can benefit from the proximity of the Freezone to Sohar Port and Sohar Airport which facilitates and ease import and export operations. In addition, Sohar Freezone has direct land routes with neighbouring countries such as the United Arab Emirates and soon with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Sohar Freezone also has direct shipping lines with Asia, Europe and America.” 

The companies and foreign investors would also enjoy 100% foreign ownership, a corporate tax holiday of upto 25 years, 0% import or re-export duties, 0% personal income tax, low capital requirements, flexible and high-quality office space for rent at reasonable prices, and cold warehouses to serve varied industries.

Ali bin Mohammed Tabouk, CEO of Salalah Free Zone (SFZ), said, “Our goal is to position Salalah Free Zone as a leading regional and global logistics and industrial hub and the investment projects in SFZ is a testimony for our efforts to attract foreign investors and our successful relationship with the free zone’s strategic partners.”

Salalah Free Zone achieved exceptional results in 2019 that included signing of 24 usufruct agreements worth RO1.4bn. Tabouk indicated that the free zone will provide job opportunities for locals and added that the percentage of Omanisation has reached 36% in the companies operating at SFZ.

Ali Tabouk highlighted that Salalah Free Zone plans to develop the Salalah Free Zone Food Processing Plant that will provide commercial warehouses, logistic services and storage facilities for the food and beverage industries. In addition to a 20,000 square meters trading and services complex that will include number of offices and service facilities for businessmen in an integrated business environment. An international allied medicine training centre will also be founded in an area of ​96 square metres to provide training programmes for various specialties of allied medicine including, but not limited to, radiology, laboratories, and occupational and physical therapy. This comes within the framework of developing the national skills and capabilities in the medical specialisations.

Tabouk also talked about the Free Zone’s initiative to ease doing business at Salalah Free Zone, including registration, granting of licenses, and signing of usufruct agreements within one to three hours.

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