RO 5bn-worth Omani non-budgetary investments planned in 2022

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@conradprabhu –

Investments in new projects and initiatives totaling around RO 5 billion are envisaged during 2022, the Omani Ministry of Finance stated on Sunday, emphasizing that funding for these ventures will come from non-budgetary sources.

Roughly two-thirds of these investments are planned by various subsidiaries and affiliates of Oman Investment Authority (OIA), the integrated sovereign wealth fund of the Sultanate of Oman.

According to details shared by the Ministry of Finance, OIA-led projects totaling RO 2.939 billion are slated for development, completion and expansion during 2022. These are distributed across a number of economic sectors: Tourism (RO 193m), Minerals (RO 57m), Logistics (RO 116m), Technology (RO 156m), Food (RO 99m), Fisheries (RO 54m), Energy (RO 1,410m), Services (RO 802m) and others (RO 52m).

A further investment of around RO 1.2 billion is planned by Energy Development Oman (EDO), the state-owned holding company set up in 2020 to represent the government’s 60 per cent stake in Petroleum Development Oman’s (PDO) Block 6 oil and associated gas, and 100 per cent of non-associated gas and condensate. A key part of EDO’s mandate is to raise the capex and opex funding requirements of PDO commensurate with the government’s stake. Last August, Muscat-headquartered EDO announced that it had successfully secured USD2.5 billion (approx RO 1 billion) of financing at competitive rates to meet the funding requirements for Block 6.

Additionally, development projects and initiatives planned via the Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) and the Partnership for Development (Offset) programmes will help garner around RO 900 million in new funding during 2022.

PPP & PfD

The Ministry of Finance, which oversees both programmes, aims to initiate the procurement of a number of educational, health-related, and fishery port and transport ventures via the PPP route during the current year.

Notable is a plan for the construction of as many as 40 schools in various governorates in the first phase of a PPP-led school-building programme. The goal is to tap private sector funding, as well as expertise in the design, construction and maintenance of schools to meet educational infrastructure demand growth across the country, according to the Ministry.

In the healthcare sector, the government aims to move ahead with a proposal to invite the private sector in the construction and operation of a number of dialysis centres at key locations based the PPP model. The objective is to reduce the cost burden on the Ministry of Health. Separately, a Drug Rehabilitation Centre is proposed to be established in Suhar via the PPP route to provide treatment and post-treatment care to sufferers.

Also lined up for procurement is a privately-financed toll road for heavy trucks connecting mineral-resource rich Thamrait with Salalah and its maritime gateway in Dhofar Governorate. Built as an expressway, the proposed Salalah-Thamrait Road Project will serve as an alternative to the existing carriageway linking the two locations.

In the fisheries sector, rudimentary jetties in Liwa and Musannah on the North and South Al Batinah coasts respectively are proposed to be upgraded into multipurpose seaports with private sector funding assistance. Both projects are expected to catalyse wider economic and commercial development in the vicinity of the seaports.

Besides, the Ministry-supervised PfD (Offset) based programme will help finance a number of initiatives, as well as support the transfer of advanced technology and knowledge, and strengthen local human capital development.

“The Ministry of Finance has embarked on the implementation of nine projects including: ship and boat maintenance project, a multi-sensor direct satellite reception station, and fishing research vessel, in addition to other projects to be implemented in coordination with defence and security units,” it added.