OMAN: SMEs Development Symposium Kicks-off





SMEs Development Symposium Kicks-off

Muscat, Jan 21 (ONA)--- In response to the Royal Directives of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said, the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) Development Symposium kicked-off at Saih Al Shamekhat in the Wilayat of Bahla in the Governorate of A'Dakhiliyah today under the patronage of Sayyid Khalid bin Hilal bin Saud al-Busaidi, Minister of the Diwan of Royal Court in the presence of a number of ministers, undersecretaries, honourable members of the State Council and members of the Majlis A'Shura, a number of state's officials and SMEs owners.

The three-day symposium aims at putting contents of the Royal speech at the Council of Oman on November 12th, 2012 into practice, instilling entrepreneurship culture at minds of the Omani youths, enhancing the efforts made to link education to the labour market's requirements, diagnosing hindrances before the development of the SMEs and proposing solutions.

It also aims at empowering woman by encouraging her to set up her own business, developing skills of entrepreneurs and preparing them to become capable of setting up their projects, reviewing the successful stories for entrepreneurs at different economic sectors, studying failure experiences to extract lessons, casting light on hidden trade phenomenon and proposing solutions for combatting it, revising the legislations and policies for the SMEs, proposing amendments to them, revising the finance opportunities, the technical support programmes and how far they assist in creating a conducive environment for the success and continuity of the SMEs.

The Symposium will cover four themes that focus on entrepreneurship culture, the available opportunities, the support programmes, the polices, laws and procedures, financing and investment. It will also include sessions that will discuss these themes in detail through interactive dialogue among participants.

Organizing this seminar comes due to the great role played by SMEs in the economic development. The last years have witnessed a growing interest by different countries of the world regardless of their economic conditions as the SMEs sector contributes to diversifying economy, providing new job opportunities, supporting innovation and capability to meet changes and use modern technology.

Through the symposium, the government seeks to discuss the status of the SME enterprises in the Sultanate, the impediments facing the growth of this sector to change this reality by introducing a package of procedures that enhance entrepreneurship. The outcomes of the symposium will be utilized in drafting realistic policies that will be implemented during the current five year plan and at the future plans to set the floor for new economic era.

Sultan bin Salim al-Habsi, Secretary General of the Supreme Council for Planning and member of the Main Committee for the Symposium said that organizing this symposium comes in response to the Royal Orders of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said and affirms the high attention accorded by His Majesty the Sultan to business initiatives and encouraging SMEs, which represent a main component in the economic diversification strategy, creating job opportunities for Omani youths and enhancing the growth rates.

Al-Habsi added, in his speech, that it is important for the private sector to take part in enhancing the economic activity to ensure direct contribution to the growth of this sector or through contracting with the entrepreneurs.

He pointed out that His Majesty the Sultan's interest in the development of SMEs sector was highly appreciated by everyone as all sought to ensure professionalism and define its work system whether in terms of reviewing and assessing the status quo, proposing initiatives, determining priorities and then ensuring proper implementation in reality.

The Secretary General of the Supreme Council for Planning affirmed that Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OCCI), in coordination with the private sector, will play an important role in ensuring efficient implementation of the recommendations especially the government is ready to adopt these outcomes and incorporate them in the development plans

SMEs Development Symposium………..Part-2

                                                                                                   

Sayyid Khalid bin Hilal bin Saud al-Busaidi, Minister of the Diwan of Royal Court then opened the associated exhibition and toured its sections. The exhibition includes public and private establishments interested in supporting SMEs and some initiatives made to support the SMEs. It also includes some interactive activities, such as showcasing the experiences of some entrepreneurs, providing starter ups with guidance by successful entrepreneurs and CEOs. It also included a number of other activities.

In a statement to reporters, Sayyid Khalid added that the symposium will cover a number of important themes that were identified and developed by various sectors of the society, in addition to the public and private sectors, which gave their thoughts on the issue.

He added that there will be programmes to follow up the implementation of the outcomes and recommendations. The private and public sectors will cooperate to ensure proper implementation; therefore entrepreneurs are required to be enthusiastic and hard working.

In response to a question about many demands by entrepreneurs to have one entity that supervises all SMEs stakeholders, he added that if the symposium came out with a recommendation like this, it will be discussed and the proper decision will be taken.

On his part, Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser al-Bakri, Minister of Manpower said that the seminar highlights a number of issues on the development of SMEs sector in the upcoming stage.

In a statement to reporters, he added that it is important for the private sector to support entrepreneurs by adopting ideas, encouraging them and providing them with the healthy environment for setting up projects.

He called on youth to benefit from the business opportunities that will be availed in the future.

As for evaluation of the progress made during the last years after the two manpower employment symposiums, Sheikh al-Bakri said that they were successful and came out with many recommendations and decisions that have been turned into reality, such as Sanad Programme, which subsidized (43,000) male and female citizens working for the private sector whether through providing them with finance or protection.

He added that the number of workers at the private sector before the three symposiums was (98,000). As of today, the number stands at (210,000) male and female citizens. He also pointed out that the past experience proved that Omanis have proved their capability and success in working for the private sector.

The Minister of Manpower pointed out that job opportunities availed by the government last year at the state administrative apparatus led to migration of Omani workers from the private sector. This provided many opportunities for expatriates to join the private sector's projects and helped their return to sectors that were Omanized. He urged the youths to benefit from the available opportunities in the sector especially the national economy has many opportunities that should be utilized by the youths and not to be left to expatriates.

Sheikh al-Bakri also stated that there is a common agreement between the government and the private sector to support innovations by youths whether through business those are awarded through the Tender Board or through individual works or direct enterprises

SMEs Development Symposium………..Part-3

The Minister of Manpower said that the labour market laws are regularly updated to keep pace with the development.

He affirmed that the government is very keen to provide different means of support once there is a serious desire to set up any project. Sheikh al-Bakri pointed out that the Tender Board is a basic supporter of the owners of SMEs, therefore owners of these enterprises should realize that the private sector provides them with many opportunities that should be properly utilized.

Khalil bin Abdullah al-Khunji, Chairman of Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OCCI) said that the interest in the SMEs is growing especially entrepreneurs represent (3%) of the (500,000) youths.

He pointed out that laws should be made simpler and the finance should be increased to encourage youths venture in such projects. He also highlighted the role of education in the success of such projects.

Al-Khunji added that processing the procedures in a record time will help in establishing these small projects by encouraging governmental employees at these respective organizations to process the transactions of owners of these projects quickly.

"To this end, OCCI has set up a special department for SMEs, which will be supported by a committee of businessmen. It also created a department for communication among the governmental bodies and business owners. After the symposium, there will be an awareness campaign for the facilitates provided by the Tender Board to SMEs," he added

After that, the events of the first day started. The first session covered the entrepreneurship and free business culture and the role of education. It reviewed a number of case studies for entrepreneurs and discussed hidden trade and how to reduce its impact.

Eng. Ahmed bin Hassan al-Dheeb, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry for Commerce and Industry and Head of the Supervisory Committee for the Symposium said that the first session focused on entrepreneurship culture, the reasons behind reluctance of youths to enter this field and the most important hindrances.

He pointed out that the recommendations related to governmental procedures will be addressed immediately.

After the two sessions, there have been two seminars; the first of which on entrepreneurship and free business culture and the second session on the available investment opportunities and subsidy programmes.

Tomorrow, the symposium will discuss the policies, laws and procedures, as well as finance and investment.

Oman Eco Conference (Gulf Eco 2013) Kicks off

Muscat, Jan 21 (ONA)--- Oman Eco Conference (Gulf Eco 2013) kicked off at Golden Tulip Muscat today under the patronage of Mohammed bin Khamis al-Oraimi, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs in the presence of a number of officials, dignitaries and personnel interested in the environment.

The two-day conference was organized by the Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs in cooperation with Oman International Trade Exhibitions (OITE).

Ahmed bin Saleh Ba'Abood, CEO of OITE said, in his speech, that the environment experienced many threats to its stability with the large and rapidly growing population in the world including the limited resources and health problems, calling to think about how to find solutions that will preserve and protect the environment in the country and the world and face the current challenges in the country through the latest technical solutions.

Ibrahim bin Ahmad al-Ajami, Director General of Climate Affairs at the Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs said, in his speech at the opening ceremony, that Oman Eco Conference (Gulf Eco 2013), held under the theme "Clean Energy for Oman," is part of the celebration of Oman Environment Day 2013 under the theme "Our Environment...Our Responsibility," and part of Ministry's efforts to promote and support cooperation between local and international, governmental and private sector organizations and NGOs in promoting renewable energy in the Sultanate and enhancing opportunities for challenges related to environment and climate affairs, such as environmental pollution, climate change, depletion of the ozone layer and other issues.

He added that shaping the basic pillars of environmental action in the Sultanate as part of integrated strategies and action plans is to ensure the prospective economic and social dimensions with the importance of preserving the environment and safeguarding the natural resources in accordance with requirements of sustainable development, saying that the Conference would contribute to deepening concepts and initiatives for energy applications, associated issues and challenges in the field of environment and climate affairs and will strengthen the cooperation between the governmental and private sector institutions in various areas.

The Conference opened up with its first session, entitled "Clean Energy for Oman," by Dr. Benno Boer, Ecological Sciences Advisor at UNESCO Arab Region and Doha-Qatar.

The first session started under the title "Regulations and Policies on Renewable Energy," chaired by Dr. Benno Boer and Dr. Ahmed bin Mubarak al-Sa'eedi, Director of Preservation of the Marine Environment at the Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs. Dr. Mohammed Raouf, Research Fellow-Environmental Programmes, Gulf Research Centre in Egypt presented a research paper entitled "Sustainable Development in the Middle East and the Real Outcome of Rio 20". Dr. Ali al-Ghafri, Deputy Chairman of the Public Authority for Electricity and Water (PAEW), the Sultanate of Oman presented his paper entitled "Energy Outlook in the GCC and Oman's Goal for Renewable Energy".

Sami al-Ali, Senior Adviser on Sustainable Development, Intergovernmental Organization for Renewable Energy (IREO) Kuwait, presented his paper titled "Overview on Various Renewable Energy Laws and Regulations in the GCC Region".

An Expert panel entitled "Harnessing and Utilization of Renewable Energy in the Sultanate of Oman," was held under the chair of Dr. Ahmed bin Mubarak al-Sa'eedi, Director of Preservation of the Marine Environment at Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs in the presence of Dr. Radha Krishnan, CSG Manager-Infrastructure and Environment, Worley Parsons Oman, Dr. Ali al-Ghafri, PAEW Deputy Chairman, the Sultanate of Oman.

A session was also held under the title "Waste Management and Recycling," chaired by Dr. Benno Boer, Ecological Sciences Advisor at UNESCO Arab Region, Doha-Qatar, and Dr. Thuraya bint Said al-Sariri, Director of the Department for the Protection of the Marine Environment at the Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs.

Dr. Hameed Sulaiman, Assistant Professor, College of Environmental Sciences, Biology Department at the Sultan Qaboos University (SQU) presented a paper entitled "Waste Management Options and their Contribution to Climate Change Mitigation Potential". Sanjeev Kumar, General Manager of HMR Group, Environmental Engineering Consultants, presented his paper titled "Eco Friendly Wastewater Treatment Systems".

At the end of the conference's first day, Mohammed bin Said al-Masroori, Director of HSC, OMIFCO Corporation, presented his paper titled "Study on OMIFCO Management of Waste".

Participating in the Conference were more than (10) experts around the world who will highlight the most important issues and risks related to the environment in order to identify solutions that will keep environment clean and sustainable in the Sultanate of Oman and the world.

It is worth mentioning that Oman Eco Conference and Exhibition (Gulf Eco 2013) held in coincidence with marking Oman Environment Day.

Sayyid Shihab Arrives in KSA

Riyadh, Jan 21 (ONA)--- Representing His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said, Sayyid Shihab bin Tariq al-Said arrived in the sisterly Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) today to lead the Sultanate's delegation in the 3rd Arab Economic and Social Development Summit due to commence its deliberations at Riyadh today.

Sayyid Shihab is accompanied by an official delegation comprising Yousef bin Alawi bin Abdullah, Minister Responsible for Foreign Affairs, Dr. Fu'ad bin Ja'afar al-Sajwani, Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Sheikh Mohammed bin Sa'ayed al-Kalbani, Minister of Social Development, Dr. Abdul Mun'em bin Mansour al-Hasani, Minister of Information, Ahmed bin Yousef al-Harthy, Foreign Ministry's Undersecretary for Diplomatic Affairs, Sheikh Khalifa bin Ali al-Harthy, Sultanate's ambassador to the Arab Republic of Egypt and its Permanent Representative to the Arab League and Sayyid Dr. Ahmed bin Hilal bin Saud al-Busaidi, Sultanate's ambassador to KSA.

Sayyid Shihab and his accompanying delegation were received by the Deputy Emir of Riyadh, the Secretary General of the Arab League, Mayor of Riyadh, Director of Police in Riyadh and the KSA ambassador to the Sultanate.

It is worth mentioning that the opening session of the 3rd Arab Economic and Social Development Summit will begin later this evening.

Sayyid Shihab/ Departure

Muscat, Jan 21 (ONA)--- Representing His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said, Sayyid Shihab bin Tariq al-Said left her today for the sisterly Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) to lead the Sultanate's delegation in the 3rd Arab Economic and Social Development Summit due to commence its deliberations at Riyadh today.

Sayyid Shihab is accompanied by an official delegation comprising Yousef bin Alawi bin Abdullah, Minister Responsible for Foreign Affairs, Dr. Fu'ad bin Ja'afar al-Sajwani, Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Sheikh Mohammed bin Sa'ayed al-Kalbani, Minister of Social Development, Dr. Abdul Mun'em bin Mansour al-Hasani, Minister of Information, Ahmed bin Yousef al-Harthy, Foreign Ministry's Undersecretary for Diplomatic Affairs, Sheikh Khalifa bin Ali al-Harthy, Sultanate's ambassador to the Arab Republic of Egypt and its Permanent Representative to the Arab League and Sayyid Dr. Ahmed bin Hilal bin Saud al-Busaidi, Sultanate's ambassador to KSA.

Sayyid Shihab and his accompanying delegation were seen by Sayyid Saud bin Hilal bin Hamad al-Busaidi, Minister of State and Governor of Muscat, Dr. Abdullah bin Nasser al-Harasi, Chairman of the Public Authority for Radio and Television (PART), the Charge d'affaires of KSA Embassy in the Sultanate and a number of officials.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 








 














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