RIYADH: Saudi Investment Minister Khalid Al-Falih on Sunday said a number of leading Saudi companies are interested in making investments in vital sectors in Oman, such as petrochemicals, healthcare and renewable energy, etc.
The minister who is leading a delegation of Saudi businessmen and officials to Oman said the trade volume between the two countries amounted to more than SR2 billion ($533 million) in the first quarter of 2021, the SPA reported. He said the trade exchange between the two brotherly countries was hit due to the coronavirus disease pandemic but now it is rising back to the pre-pandemic level.
The number of Saudi investors in Oman has reached 1,235 whereas 320 Oman companies have so far invested in various sectors in the Kingdom. Al-Falih said the total Saudi investments in Oman amount to nearly SR24 billion and Omani investments have reached over SR4 billion.
He said efforts are underway to consolidate the partnership between the two countries. The ministerial visit aims to consolidate and expand economic ties and mutual investments between the two countries.
Last month, Oman’s ruler Sultan Haitham bin Tariq visited the Kingdom. During the visit, the two sides agreed to launch initiatives that include major areas of cooperation, including investments in Oman’s Duqm region, energy cooperation, and partnerships in food security, and various cultural, sports and tourism activities. The Saudi-Omani Business Council was also established to promote bilateral business ties.
Earlier talking to Al-Arabiya in a televised interview, Al-Falih said that despite several challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic, “we were able to raise the level of direct investment flows by 20 percent in 2020.”
Stressing the importance of technology, he said: “What determines the competitiveness and productivity of each economic sector in the Kingdom will be based on their adoption of the latest technological capabilities in terms of productivity and global competitiveness, and this is part of the vision of the crown prince.”
Al-Falih recently concluded his visit to the UK. In an interview with Independent Arabia newspaper, he said the Kingdom is making efforts to attract more capital.
The minister said the real investment process in the Kingdom has not yet begun, particularly, with the active role played by the Public Investment Fund and large companies.
Al-Falih said the field is open to British companies to invest in Saudi Arabia, pointing out that the petrochemical sector is one of the main sectors attracting investment and Saudi Arabia has become a leader in this sector.
There are talks with INEOS Group about a $2 billion project in Jubail to produce nitriles that is used as a key material in advanced industries such as carbon fiber, and involved in many sectors, including the automotive industry, Al-Falih said.