Oman’s Economy: Getting in the Know


Early next month, for those who want to become more aware of exactly what is happening with Oman’s economy, there will be an opportunity to do just that – at the Oman Investment Forum-2012.  Hosted by the Public Authority for Investment Promotion and Export Development (PAIPED) at the Al Bustan Palace in Muscat from October 8th to 9th, the event is set to be attended by top experts in the industry; those heralding from the political arena and more.

So what is likely to be discussed at the forum?  Potential budget for principal sectors in the country’s economy over the next few years; political visions for the future; an overview of current and potential business opportunities in the market and more.  So it all sounds positive, and, in some ways it is since according to Hamood Sangour al-Zadjali, Executive President of Central Bank, there is an anticipated 5 percent growth in the region’s economy this year.

But inflation is another story.  If, as expected, it escalates to 3 percent this year, doesn’t this raise concern and thus invalidate the whole reason for the forum?  According to Zadjali, not at all.  He believes that currently inflation is under control, and for the immediate future.  Plus he feels that estimates on various aspects of the country’s economy are inaccurate.  He especially noted that how the International Monetary Fund viewed Oman’s unemployment rate of 24.4 percent was a mistaken inaccuracy against it.

In any case, the region’s government is on the case having invested $1bn toward job creation, given the higher-than-anticipated returns that were seen from oil from January to June of 2012. This is in line with what the IMF said last year, that approximately 45,000 new private sector jobs would have to be created each year in order to absorb new entrants into the workforce and significantly reduce unemployment.  That has been happening as last year 44,000 government jobs were created with this year’s budget allowing for the establishment of a further 36,000 jobs.

So there is slight confusion on the exact status of the region’s economy.  That’s why the forum could be interesting – to see what different people have to say and why.  Hence it makes sense that chief guest Mohammed bin al Zubair, Adviser to His Majesty for Economic Planning Affairs believes it’s a “must-attend for those interested in investment prospects.”  The networking opportunity alone it will provide is worth it.

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