United Kingdom remains top investor as FDI in Oman increases

Muscat: The United Kingdom continues to remain Oman’s biggest foreign investor as its volume of foreign direct investments rose to OMR16.43 billion until the third quarter of 2021. Figures published by the National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI) show that the UK invested OMR8.33 billion in Oman during the above period, compared to OMR7.76 billion in 2020. The United States is another major investor in Oman, having invested OMR2.018bn in 2021, up from OMR1.849bn the previous year. Other key investors are China (OMR773.4mn) and India (OMR272.1mn). Among Gulf countries, the United Arab Emirates (OMR1.187bn), Qatar (OMR383.2mn), Kuwait (OMR914.5mn) and Bahrain (OMR398.8mn) are some of the biggest investors in Oman. The oil and gas industry was by far the biggest target for foreign investment, attracting OMR11.13bn in total. This was followed by the manufacturing industry (OMR1.51bn), financial services (OMR1.45bn) and real estate investments (OMR1.16bn). Oman has attempted to encourage more local and foreign investment into its economy with the aim of diversifying its sources of income to help the country withstand the impact of global events. Diversification is also a key objective of Oman Vision 2040, the country’s long-term plan towards building a sustainable economy and providing employment and enhancing the living standards of the people. A key aspect of this investment plan is Oman’s Medium Term Fiscal Plan, which runs from 2020 to 2024, and includes a set of measures and initiatives aimed at achieving fiscal sustainability, while maintaining an attractive investment climate. It is also the cornerstone of Oman’s 2022 budget. “The 2022 budget endeavours to attract more investments, enable the private sector to play a greater role in accelerating economic growth, and create more job opportunities,” said the report. To improve Oman’s investment climate and alleviate some of the impact the COVID-19 pandemic had on the economic output of the country, the government launched its Economic Stimulus Plan in March 2021. “The economic stimulus plan aims to fuel the efforts exerted to mitigate the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic on the national economy,” said the budget report, released by the Ministry of Finance. “This is achieved through providing a set of stimulus measures and initiatives. “Such measures and initiatives aim to support economic recovery efforts, enhance the performance of economic activities and attract more foreign investment.” Another key scheme launched to boost investments was the Investor Residency Programme launched by the Ministry of Commerce, Industry, and Investment Promotion. This scheme grants investors residency rights lasting for five or 10 years, depending on the nature of their investment, and is extendable. Improving Oman’s credit rating and investor confidence is also one of the nine key economic and social objectives of the country’s 2022 budget plan. “Oman has achieved positive outcomes and indicators in 2021 as a result of government measures and efforts towards achieving national objectives,” said the MOF’s budget report. “Such an approach, if maintained, will ensure better outcomes in 2022, and strengthen rating agencies and investors’ confidence.”

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