‘Oman-India Business Connect Forum’, hosted by Meethaq, the Islamic banking window of Bank Muscat, spotlighted investment opportunities for Indian investors in Oman as well as new possibilities and collaborations in Islamic banking and finance vis-à-vis the investment opportunities in Oman.
Organised against the backdrop of Oman’s strategic economic diversification programme and the emergence of Islamic financial services industry, the high-profile forum was attended by HE Ahmed Al Dheeb, under-secretary for commerce and industry at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, HE Indra Mani Pandey, Indian ambassador to the Sultanate, prominent Indian investors, senior officials of ports, special economic zones, industrial estates and Meethaq Islamic Banking.
H E Ahmed Al Dheeb said: “The Sultanate’s maritime ports, special economic zones and industrial estates play a big role in the integrated economic development plan comprising industrial hubs for heavy, medium and light industries and modern cities. The objective is to achieve the Sultanate’s vision of a truly sustainable development plan with unique amenities, business and tourism attractions to serve the nation, the region and the world. The aim is to develop Oman as one of the best locations to visit, live, work and invest in the Middle East. The pursuit of this objective offers attractive investment opportunities and we are delighted to showcase them to Indian investors. We appreciate Meethaq for taking the initiative to highlight the investment opportunities in Oman.”
HE Indra Mani Pandey said: “India and Oman enjoy excellent relations in all domains. Business is the DNA of Oman-India relations stemming from the geographical proximity of the two friendly countries, familiarity with each other and co-existence of communities in Oman, all of which point to promising future opportunities. We commend Meethaq Islamic Banking initiative to forge closer ties between Oman and India.”
Experts addressed the forum and participated in a panel discussion highlighting strategic projects currently under way in Sohar, Salalah and Duqm, including special economic zones, industrial estates and world class maritime ports. The deliberations showcasing investment opportunities covered policy issues, investment framework, tax benefits and business opportunities, highlighting the significance of Oman at the regional and world levels.
Sulaiman Al Harthy, deputy CEO – Islamic Banking, said: “Complementing government efforts, Meethaq is proud to host this distinguished forum as a platform to interact with prominent Indian investors. Meethaq recognises the immense investment prospects and potential that Oman offers and is committed to supporting the strategic national development initiative and identify opportunities aimed at attracting investments in line with Oman’s Vision 2040 economic blueprint. The forum comes as part of the bank’s endeavours to share experience and facilitate collaboration opportunities with the pioneer of Islamic banking in Oman.”
Within four years of operations, Meethaq has crossed a milestone of over RO1bn in assets and consolidated its leadership position, recording many achievements contributing to the growth and development of the Sultanate’s economy. Notable project finance extended by Meethaq to projects in Oman involving Indian investors include Moon Iron and Steel Company in Sohar, Sebacic Oman setting up one of the world’s largest plant for sebacic acid in Duqm, the Drug Manufacturing Company (DMC) setting up a state-of-the-art manufacturing unit in Sohar Industrial Area and Dar Al Tomouh company setting up the Sultanate’s first commercial contract chicken farming project in the wilayat of Nizwa.
In 2016, bilateral trade between Oman and India stood at $3.89bn. Indian and Omani firms have undertaken joint ventures in a wide range of sectors, including fertilisers, pharmaceuticals, energy and engineering.