Economists and businesspersons in the sultanate have expressed hope that the visit of the Saudi delegation headed by Eng Khalid bin Abdulaziz al Falih, Minister of Investment, Saudi Arabia, will have a significant impact on increasing investments in Oman, particularly in light of the fact that this visit will witness the launch of the Omani-Saudi Investment Forum.
During a panel discussion entitled ‘Economic and Investment Integration between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Sultanate of Oman’, Omani businesspersons showed their optimism about the prospects of cooperation in the field of trade and commerce in a way that enhances economic integration between the two countries.
Dr Nouf bin Abdulaziz al Ghamdi, member of the Saudi-Omani Business Council and CEO of Chief Outsiders Consulting Group, which specialises in providing economic consultancy and conducting strategic studies, explained that the volume of trade exchange between the two countries increased by six per cent during the current year.
She indicated that the pace of such increase is expected to rise with the inauguration of the direct land road between the sultanate and Saudi Arabia, which is expected to shorten the distance between the two countries by about 800km.
Dr Muhammad al Ruzaiqi, another businessman, said that he is looking forward to raising the volume of trade exchange, creating opportunities commensurate with the GDP of the two countries and expanding the partnership between the small and medium enterprises in a way that raises global competitiveness.
During the session, it was emphasised that there is a need to restructure the investment partnerships between the two countries to focus on the entrepreneurship sector and innovation opportunities.
Khalfan al Touqi, an entrepreneur, spoke about the prospects of cooperation between Oman and Saudi Arabia in exporting oil through the Port of Duqm and its storage in Ras Madrakah.
Walid al Zadjali spoke about the facilities that can be provided by the Saudi authorities to Omani companies in general and small and medium enterprises in particular. He referred to the calls issued by Saudi Arabia to international companies asking them to establish regional centres in the kingdom in an attempt to transfer and localise knowledge and to create a competitive environment.
Dr Talal al Awlaki commended the treatment received by Omani companies in Saudi Arabia as Aramco treats the Omani companies dealing with it the same way it treats Saudi companies.
With regard to the investment-related legislations, Dr Muhannad al Asfoor underlined the importance of aligning the legislations with the requirements of the next stage. He expressed his hope that Omani companies get some kind of incentives and to review the legislations that affect such dealings.
Anne al Kindi indicated that there is a need for providing facilities and incentives to business owners operating in both countries. She stressed that attention should be paid to investment partnerships in the ICT sector in light of the great strides made by the Saudi Arabia in this sector.
Khamis al Kiyumi said that the Saudi economy possesses many solid assets and that it is his aspiration to see Omani and Saudi companies enter into partnerships to strengthen the economies of both the countries.