Celebrations to mark this special day are based on the government’s plans to diversify sources of income and develop the industry to support the revenue from oil and gas.
Omani Industry Day is a significant event as it provides a platform for industrialists to come together, interact directly with the Minister of Commerce and Industry and other senior government officials.
The meeting is organised annually by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MoCI), in coordination with the Public Establishment for Industrial Estates (PEIE) and other stakeholders in the industrial sector. The meeting, which discusses various topics of interest to the industrial sector, is a forum for industrialists to express their opinions, identify their problems, look for solutions, explore future of industry, present initiatives and ideas to develop the sector and review certain projects implemented by MoCI as part of the Five-Year development plans.
Omani Industry Day is also an occasion to inaugurate new projects, organise Omani products exhibitions and other events related to the industry.
This annual event creates an atmosphere of trust and constructive cooperation between the private sector and the government officials, for the benefit of the industrial sector and the industrialists.
It also helps the ministry to identify problems and obstacles facing the sector and investors, and attempt to address them and respond to enquiries within the ministry’s jurisdiction, and follow up with other agencies to find suitable solutions for such challenges.
By establishing the industrial estates, the government has sought to diversify the source of income and promote business environment in the sultanate, avail employment opportunities for Omanis, in addition to attracting local and foreign investment. The first industrial estate was established in 1983 at Rusayl Industrial Estate in Muscat governorate, which was inaugurated officially in 1985.
Many industrial estates were established in a number of governorates and regions.
PEIE was established following Royal Decree No 4/93 with the aim of managing, operating and developing the industrial estates in the sultanate, including Knowledge Oasis Muscat (KOM) and Al Mazunah Free Zone.
PEIE seeks to achieve a number of strategic goals and developmental infrastructure for attracting foreign investments to the sultanate, nationalising national capital, enhancing the private sector to contribute towards achieving the sustainable and overall socio-economic development, introducing new technology and availing manpower with technical skills.
It also seeks to create new employment opportunities, encourage exports and develop international trade, establish export-based industries and activate the economic sectors in the sultanate, such as transport, banking and tourism.
PEIE is looking after the interests of industrial investors by establishing the Industrial Innovation Centre at Rusayl Industrial Estate, thanks to the cooperation between PEIE and The Research Council (TRC).
The centre also seeks to disseminate the culture of innovation in the industrial sector for access to local and global markets alike, specify the industrial areas that need research and innovation, make available all data, studies, researches and scientific and practical consultations to industrialists, look after industrial innovation and creativity in the sultanate, study and analyse challenges facing industries that could slow down development in the sultanate.
PEIE seeks to promote national products among local consumers. To this end, it annually holds the Omani Product campaign in a bid to convince local consumers of national products and encourage them to buy them. This campaign is organised in collaboration with a number of public and private establishments.
Realising the importance of free zones in creating new markets for local products, the sultanate established two free zones, namely Salalah Free Zone and the Al Mazunah Free Zone, which are managed by PEIE. The Al Mazunah Free Zone is bordering one of the major consumer markets in the region – Yemen.
PEIE is developing the Al Mazunah Free Zone to serve the national economy in general and the industrial sector in particular and to be a window for Omani products for markets in Yemen and Horn of Africa. .
PEIE currently implements a number of major projects through private sector partnership.
It prepares plans for a number of projects that will be promoted locally and internationally.
Al Mazunah is located in the southwest of the sultanate, 4km away from the Yemeni border - 14km from the city of Shahn in Yemen. This location gives it a distinguished commercial and investment dimension, where it can be deemed an investment gate for Yemen and Oman, especially with the investment facilities offered to non-Omani investors.
The free zone project spreads over a huge area, reaching about 3mn sqm. The project contains the necessary facilities that constitute the a zone, including a commercial mall, hotels, car dealers, warehouses, administrative centre, showrooms, external clinics, secondary service centre, mosque, commercial stores, animal wealth, multi-purpose areas, green zones parking and others.
This project is supported by massive and modern infrastructure, including road networks, bridges, drainages, Internet, phone lines and mobiles networks, in addition to other facilities and services. There are a lot of special characteristics that attract investors to invest in Al Mazunah Project, namely its proximity to the Yemeni border. It offers easy use of Yemeni manpower without the need to obtain visas or to carry out the complex routine matters. It offers more freedom when it comes to hiring Omani manpower, (only ten per cent instead of 30 per cent).
Also, the unique and outstanding exemption packages include tax exemption for 30 years.
Al Mazunah offers a wide range of investment opportunities that start with launching the work in a project. These opportunities are divided into many sectors that operate at Al Mazunah.
The commercial sector at the project includes storing and trading of goods, cars, spare parts, vegetables, fruits, livestock, meat, machines and equipment.
Different industries include factories, foodstuff, vegetables, fruits, plastic materials, clothes, wooden industries and maintenance workshops for all kind of machines and equipment. The assistant services sector includes transport, distribution and clearing services, restaurants, handling services and commercial correspondences services, translation offices, printing, fax and Internet facilities.
To attract foreign investments, Oman offers a package of exemptions and incentives specific to Al Mazunah:
Exempting the profits from income tax for 30 years, without the need to submit income returns.
Providing, circulating and transferring foreign currencies and entering of capitals with ease.
Exemption from Commercial Agency Law.
Exemption from customs duties.
Importing all goods allowed to be put into circulation in the country.
Exemption from the condition on minimum investment and giving the freedom to use currencies.
100 per cent ownership of the capital.
Allowing Yemeni manpower to work without visas.
Decreasing the rate of hiring Omani manpower to ten per cent instead of 30 per cent.
Approving Yemeni customs statements concerning goods imported from Yemen.
Issuing the certificates of origin. Granting the factories of the free zone a national certificate of origin.
Facilitating the process of granting residences and visas for non-Omani investors.
Allowing the establishment of a representative office inside the Omani customs zone.