The agreements signed by Eng Awadh bin Salem Al-Shanfri, Managing Director of SFZ, included the development of a facility for polyester pellets e.V. and packaging bags. The project is valued at $25 million (OMR9.6 million). Similar projects are also being prepared in the Duqm Free Zone. “We are in the process of completing the construction of a fishing port capable of hosting seagoing vessels,” Lee Chee Khian, advisor to the president of SEZAD, told DER OBG. “We are also developing a value recovery centre where catches can be processed, conserved and exported from SEZAD.” The free zone wants to build on the growth of the agriculture and fisheries sectors, which the government also intends to aim for further diversification of the economy. In 2018, agriculture and fisheries accounted for about 2.2% of total GDP; The authorities want to increase this proportion to 3.1% by 2020, with an annual growth rate of 4.5%. The 3165 km long coast of Oman produces 500,000 tonnes of fish per year, underscores the potential of food processing to enhance an already productive sector. While state campaigns such as Origin Oman have helped local food producers, some companies continue to fight international competition. Import duties remain low, even for importers of countries that do not have free trade agreements with the sultanate. In addition, local manufacturing or construction companies do not receive preferential treatment in tenders. One of the best performing sectors of recent years has been the construction sector, and it continues to stimulate economic growth in Oman, with implications for industry. At the end of 2018, construction accounted for 9% of GDP and was the largest employer with 621,478 employees, 90.4% of whom were abroad.
The construction sector is expected to grow at an annual rate of 6% between 2019 and 2024, and economic diversification plans are expected to stimulate expansion. Oman`s SEZ also recorded strong investment growth. SEZAD, Oman`s largest heavy industry hub, had attracted $14.2 billion in investment in usufruit agreements by the end of 2018. With an area of 1745 km2 and a coastline of 70 km along the Arabian Sea, SEZAD will be one of the largest developments of its kind in the Middle East and North Africa. The increase in auto parts production in Oman is being supported by a strong base of local aluminum producers and shacks, including the National Aluminium Product Company (NAPCO) and Sohar aluminium. Founded in 1984, NAPCO is one of CCG`s leading aluminum producers, with an annual production capacity of 42,000 tonnes. From its plant in the Industrial Zone of Rusayl, NAPCO produces many extruded aluminum products, such as doors and windows for the local and regional construction industry, as well as products for manufacturing.