Muscat – The Public Authority for Special Economic Zones and Free Zones (OPAZ) announced on Wednesday that its affiliated special economic zones, free zones and industrial zones attracted new committed investments worth RO3.5bn in 2023.

At its annual media briefing, OPAZ revealed that the cumulative committed investment in all its affiliated zones till the end of December 2023 rose to approximately RO19bn.

Special Economic Zone at Duqm (SEZAD) accounted for a total investment of RO6bn by 2023. The amount of committed investment in SEZAD in 2023 added up to approximately RO2.3bn. This substantial growth can be attributed to the successful completion of several major projects in Duqm.

Additionally, the sultanate’s free zones recorded a cumulative investment volume of about RO5.3bn by end of 2023, while the industrial zones attracted a cumulative investment volume of RO7.3bn. The free zones experienced an increase of over RO800mn in committed investment during 2023, while the industrial zones saw an addition of more than RO203mn.

Khazaen Economic City witnessed a noteworthy increase of RO126mn in committed investment in 2023, with the total cumulative investment in the city reaching RO429mn by the end of 2023.

The annual media briefing was attended by Dr Ali bin Masoud al Sunaidi, Chairman of OPAZ,  Ahmed bin Hassan al Theeb, Vice-Chairman, and CEOs of special, free, industrial and economic zones supervised by the authority.

One of the key topics discussed during the briefing was the growth of investments in several vital sectors, including green, metal, pharmaceutical and petrochemical industries. OPAZ emphasised its commitment to attracting environmentally friendly industries and achieving net zero by 2050, in line with Oman Vision 2040.

OPAZ oversees a total of 22 zones, including 14 special economic zones, such as SEZAD and Khazaen Economic City, three free zones – Sohar Free Zone, Salalah Free Zone and Mazyona Free Zone – and nine industrial zones operated by the Public Establishment for Industrial Estates (Madayn).

New zones under development

Eight other zones are currently under development, two of which are economic zones and the remaining free zones, besides five industrial zones in various governorates – Mahas Industrial City, Ibri Industrial City, Seih al Sarya Industrial City, Al Mudhaibi Industrial City and Thumrait Industrial City – supervised by Madayn.

The two economic zones under development are Economic Zone at Al Dhahirah on an area covering 388sqkm and Economic Zone at Al Rawda on an area of 56sqkm.

Of the six free zones, Muscat International Airport Free Zone will span 1.7sqkm and be operated by Asyad Group.

The average Omanisation rate in OPAZ-affiliated zones was 34% in 2023, with more than 75,000 direct employment opportunities at various administrative and technical levels.

In terms of services, OPAZ facilitated the establishment of 2,187 new commercial registers in the zones under its supervision in 2023.

Additionally, it granted 2,183 public service licences, 1,921 activity licences, and 258 building permits. A totally of 3,351 investor licences and 465 environmental permits were issued in 2023.

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