Oman explores India to boost inward investment

DUBAI: Oman has focused on India's thrivingeconomy as part of its strategic vision to develop new partnerships and attract inwardinvestments from the subcontinent. 

Focusing automotive, plastics, pharmaceuticals, health and education, Oman's Public Authority for Investment Promotion and Export Development (PAIPED) is aiming to showcase the Gulf country as a competitive location for Indian businesses and a gateway to Middle East markets. 

In 2009, 
PAIPED developed a five year Investment Promotion Strategy for Oman that identified priority sectors and target markets to attract investors to Oman. These sectors will support the country's projected development through the current five year plan 2011-2015. 

Capitalising on Oman's financial and investment incentives, talented labour force, modern industrial infrastructure and the double taxation and investment protection treaty between the two sides makes it highly attractive to Indian business community. 

"We are exploring industrial sectors that show significant growth potential. The Sultanate's free zones and industrial estates offer a unique proposition for investors looking to relocate to the Gulf. 

"We are particularly excited about the forecasted growth in the region's healthcare, education and automobile industries. These are sectors where Oman has a distinct competitive edge," said Faris Al Farsi, PAIPED Director General for Investment Promotion. 

As 57 per cent of the Gulf population is under the age of 25, healthcare and pharmaceuticals are seen as a sector with potential growth. 

Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is a political and economic union of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates. 

"GCC common market continues to grow and experience higher purchasing power. Region's automobile industry has a high ratio of cars per household which requires replacement parts, service skills and new vehicles at every level of the market," he said. 

He said Oman has become a leader in the plastics industry, food packaging and providing plastic to the Gulf's growing construction sector. 

The 
GCC healthcare market is projected to grow at an annual rate of 11 per cent to USD 43.9 billion by 2015, nearly double the 2010 value.