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Total investment at Salalah Free Zone reaches $8.8bn

4 Aug 2021

Salalah Free Zone (SFZ), one of the largest industrial areas in the sultanate, has attracted a total investment of more than US$8.8bn since the inception.

As per the latest statistics revealed by SFZ, the number of usufruct agreements signed by Salalah Free Zone until the beginning of 2021 reached 95 agreements with total investment volume of US$8.8bn (around RO3.3bn).

The increasing investment reflects local and international investors’ interest in Salalah Free Zone which is home to many prominent companies and factories catering to regional and global markets.

In an interview published in the latest edition of Duqm Economist magazine, Dr Ali bin Mohammed Tabouk, CEO of Salalah Free Zone, confirmed the increase in the local and international interest to invest in the SFZ.

“The number of usufruct agreements signed by SFZ until the beginning of this year reached about 95 agreements with an investment volume of US$8.8bn. Further negotiations are under the process to bring many new projects in different sectors,” he said.

Revealing the features of SFZ’s strategy for the period from 2013 to 2028, Tabouk said, “Salalah Free Zone seeks to attract investments of US$20bn and complete the construction of infrastructure that supports attracting local and international investments.”

According to Tabouk, SFZ’s strategy until 2028 is divided into the commercial and technical business plans, which constitute the base of all plans and development programmes for the Zone.

“The business plan is concerned with all activities, studies, research and promotional programmes related to attracting investments. On the other hand, the technical business plan focuses on developing and providing the infrastructure, facilities and services needed by existing and future investors.”

He said this strategy aims to make Salalah Free Zone a global destination to attract investments that are in line with the government policy and pillars of Oman’s Vision 2040 to diversify sources of income and create new job opportunities for Omanis.

“The strategy focuses on attracting essential projects in various fields: Logistic services, warehousing, redistribution, manufacturing and textile industries, petrochemicals, pharmaceutical industries, food industries, re-manufacturing projects, recycling plastic materials, installation and assembly, and many other value-added projects,” Tabouk said.

Despite the challenges from the COVID-19 Pandemic, the number of projects in Salalah Free Zone have continued to increase as a result of the competitive advantages and logistics services provided to local and foreign investors.

“The number of investment productive projects in SFZ is currently around 23 projects in various sectors. Total volume of investment in these projects records more than RO1.1bn. However, the number of under establishment investment projects is 14 projects with an investment volume reaching around RO662mn,” Tabouk noted.

He said that total direct job opportunities provided by SFZ stood at 2,200 jobs and Omanisation rate is 36%, which is higher than the percentage specified in the Royal Decree on the establishment of Salalah Free Zone.

Tabouk also stated that SFZ contributed to providing many indirect job opportunities estimated at about 4,400 jobs, bringing total direct and indirect job opportunities provided by the Zone to about 6,600 jobs.

He confirmed that Salalah Free Zone, which celebrated on June 20, 2021, the 15th anniversary of its inception, was able over the years to localise many projects.

“Localising the investments targeted in Salalah Free Zone led to the achievement of many economic and social gains. Among these benefits are providing business opportunities for national companies, offering job opportunities for Omanis, transferring knowledge and technology and utilising the natural resources available in the sultanate.”

“Other advantages include developing the financial sector and many other economic sectors such as services, construction, health services, real estate, consumer items, in addition to providing business opportunities for SMEs,” Tabouk added.

Salalah Free Zone recently announced the completion of the construction works of Mazaya Logistics Station (phase two), covering an area of 25,000sqm. This milestones follows the success marked by Mazaya Logistics Warehouses (phase 1), which have been built over and an area of 34,000sqm. These warehouses are fully leased, bringing the total storage area of Mazaya Logistics Station to 59,000sqm.

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