01 September 2016 Groundswell of support: SMEs are encouraged to register their status in a special register set up by SEZAD
The Special Economic Zone Authority at Duqm (SEZAD) has identified business and commercial opportunities linked to as many as 50 different types of economic activity that are being set aside exclusively for the benefit of Omani small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
Significantly, these opportunities are being offered by a host of major investors and service providers that are either already in operation at the SEZ or in the process of establishing a presence there.
They encompass a broad spectrum of activities, notably ship maintenance, oil and gas pipeline services, road construction, installation of power and water networks, gardening, landscaping, horticulture, construction and excavation works, warehousing, contracting and cleaning services, paving works, foodstuff supply, and other assorted commercial services.
According to the latest edition of Duqm Economist, a newsletter of SEZAD, over a dozen major industrial and commercial tenants, as well as service providers, have come forward with an array of opportunities that they say are being earmarked primarily for SMEs.
The wholly government-owned Duqm Development Company (DDC), which is behind the Frontier Town residential development in the SEZ, has pledged to allocate gardening and landscaping contracts, as well as the construction of a sports complex, to SMEs.
Scores of prospects for SMEs are also expected to emerge when Chinese investor Oman Wan Fang LLC commences work on its ambitious Sino-Omani Industrial City venture at the SEZ.
Opportunities pertain to, among other things, the execution of infrastructure services, the construction of cement and glass plants, development of a solar panel manufacturing facility, and kitchen supplies.
Oman Dry-dock Company (ODC), the wholly government-owned ship repair yard at the Port of Duqm, has allocated the following procurement and service contractors for SMEs: maintenance services at the dry dock, supply of labour, supply of ship repair tools and equipment, marine spares, leisure facilities, gym equipment, and operation of health clinics.
Kuwaiti firm United Gulf Construction Company
, which is implementing Package 3 of Duqm Port's development, has set aside maintenance and contracting jobs for SMEs. Local contractor Hussein Fadhel & Co says it is looking for SMEs to supply and install interlocking tiles for pavements and surfaces. Sebacic Oman, which is building a unique sebacic acid plant at the SEZ, has invited SMEs to get involved in the cultivation of castor trees, the seeds of which serve as the raw material for the project.
Local upscale hotels Park Inn Duqm and Crowne Plaza Duqm have pledged to set aside maintenance, cleaning and gardening contracts for SMEs. Contracts for the supply for fresh fruits and vegetables have been reserved for small firms as well.
There are also pledges of support from the growing number of contracting firms operating at the SEZ. They have invited SMEs to handle their catering requirements, as well as the supply of foodstuff, fresh
meat and fish, and other essentials.
SEZAD and other government or public sector entities operating within the SEZ are obligated under current tendering regulations to set aside 10 per cent of all procurements and contracts for SMEs.
Omani entrepreneurs and SMEs are also encouraged to register their status in a special register set up by SEZAD which has offered to connect them with tenants as and when opportunities related to their areas of specialisation emerge at the SEZ. © Oman Daily Observer 2016