National statistics, 2010 indicate how successfully Oman economy has got over the negative impacts ensuing from the global financial crisis that adversely affected Oman economy in 2009. However, the following period, since the beginning of 2010 has witnessed a rapid growth in both oil and non-oil sectors. Thus, Oman economy performance in 2010 proved to be good leading to brisk growth at a quicker rate. Hence, it achieved a positive growth at fixed prices at, approximately, he rate of 6% compared with 3,7% in 2009. Also, The Gross Domestic Product "GDP" increased at current prices in 2010 by 23,4% compared with 2009 to reach about R.O. 22243,1 million, compared with R.O. 18019,7 in 2009.
Such success can be seen in the growth witnessed by commerce and industry sectors in the previous period, reflected in the increase of the value added of the manufacturing industry sector and the improvement of the performance of trade sector as well as all service activities compared with 2009.
During 2011, the Ministry continued its relentless efforts to support the private sector, consolidate its contribution to the national economy, help it in containing the adverse effects of the global financial crisis and encourage attraction of more private local and foreign investments in order to increase the contribution of the private sector to the GDP and create new job opportunities for the national labour force.
The volume of trade in the Sultanate increased in 2010 by 23,9% compared with 2009. Oil exports grew by 39,7% between 2009 and 2010. Also, non-oil exports increased by 18,6% compared with 2009. This outstanding performance of the Sultanate in the field of foreign trade in 2010, resulted in a trade balance surplus of R.O. 6469,9 million, despite a great increase, amounting to 10,8 %, in the value of imports compared with 2009.
Volume of trade in the period 2006-2010
Industry is one of the fulcrums of the sustainable development strategy. This sector is one of the most important sectors that support the national economy and diversify the sources of the national income. Besides, this sector contributes to reducing the gap in consumer goods and job opportunities.
In 2010 the GDP of manufacturing industries amounted to R.O.2202 million, i.e. making an increase of 18,8% over the R.O.1853 million achieved in 2009.
GDP of the Manufacturing Industry Sector
2006 – 2010
The Ministry continuously conducts field and statistical studies on the actual situation of Omani industries and the challenges they face, so that such studies can be used in drafting practical recommendations for the development of the industrial sector.
Enlightenment and Technical Programmes
The Ministry conducts an annual programme entitled "Business Umbrella" which is meant to encourage and promote the development and growth of the industrial sector in the Sultanate by developing its human resources. The programme targeted, from the beginning, the Omani youth who operate their own projects, or those who intend to establish new projects in the Sultanate or abroad.
This year a number of workshops have been conducted in the Sultanate. Also, visits were paid to each of the Republic of South Korea in the period 28/5 to 3/6/2011, and the People's Republic of China in the period from 17 to 24/10/2011.
The total number of Omani employees in the big and medium manufacturing industries in 2010 reached 60356 making an increase of 5% over 2009. The total number of Omani employees in other industries in 2010 reached 19882, making an increase of 3,5% over 2009.
It is worthy to mention that the ratio of Omanization in manufacturing industry sector in 2009 and 2010 stood at 33% due to an increase of expatriates in this sector.
Total labour force compared with Omani labour force, 2008 – 2010
Development of Industrial Estates
• Completing the technical studies necessary for setting up the industrial estate in the Wilaya of Samael in a total area of 7,2 million sq. m.
• Completing the development of the infrastructure of stages 3 – 6 in Sohar Industrial Estate in a total area of 6,9 million sq. m., approximately.
• Completing the development of the infrastructure of Nizwa Industrial Estate in a total area of 1,4 million sq. m.
• Developing phase 5 in Al-Rusayl Industrial Estate in an area of approximately 400 thousand sq. m.
The Fourth Building Knowledge Oasis Muscat
The fourth building in Knowledge Oasis Muscat has been operated in a total area of 30 thousand sq.m. ready for investment by more than 100 IT projects.
The Government works relentlessly towards the development of free zones with the aim of providing private investment opportunities and, hence, stimulating the economy by attracting private investments in trade, services and manufacturing industries, which will consequently generate income and job opportunities in and outside the free zones. Due to the remarkable development witnessed by the country's sea ports, and to invigorate the national economy and regional trade, the Government embraced the free zones projects in each of Salalah, Sohar, Doqm and Al-Mazyona according to feasibility studies that confirmed their economic benefits in connection with the expected increase in investment flow and labour force. Free zones usually attract multinational investment companies, and positively affect the national economy, the Sultanate's foreign trade and foreign investments flow.
The Government of the Sultanate is currently exerting special efforts to develop the sea ports and utilize the advantage of the strategic geographical location of the Sultanate and the favourable conditions originated by the establishment of the AGCC Customs Union. Now, the Omani sea ports have become the main entry point for the Gulf markets. Consequently, the Government established Salalah container hub and provided it with the most advanced handling facilities. Also, Sohar Port was greatly developed to serve the heavy industry estate. In Al-Doqm, a port and a dry dock projects are being implemented at an investment cost of R.O. 1,7 billion. It is hoped that Al-Doqm Port will be the main sea gate of the Sultanate on Oman's south eastern coast and the most important commercial ports in the region due to its nearness to the regional and international sea routes.
Such ports are envisaged to attract many industrial and commercial projects to benefit from the favourable conditions created by the development of the ports. Free industrial and trade zones in Salalah and Sohar are already underway and have attracted, so far, more than $ 2,600,000.