Musandam Governorate towards sustainable economic development

Khasab: Musandam Governorate is unique in its geographical location and its extreme strategic importance, as it overlooks the Strait of Hormuz, which is one of the most important waterways in international trade, in addition to the governorate’s proximity to the markets of neighboring countries and the availability of natural fish, animal, agricultural and mining resources. It has enjoyed many privileges and exceptions that would empower local and foreign investors and attract investments.

The comprehensive strategy for economic development and comprehensive planning for Musandam Governorate (2040) is based on diversifying sources of income, raising the standard of living of individuals, and creating sustainable economic development in various fields, in addition to preserving the cultural and natural components that the governorate abounds in.

The strategy also seeks to develop infrastructure and public facilities, This was confirmed by His Excellency Sayyid Ibrahim bin Saeed Al Busaidi, Governor of Musandam, in an exclusive interview with the Oman News Agency.

His Excellency Al-Sayyid said: The focus has been on economic diversification through developing the most prominent economic sectors represented by the logistics sector, the tourism sector to develop the local economy, and the fisheries sector, which includes fishing ports, value-added projects, fish farming, and trade and industry, as the economy is a fundamental driver of sustainable development.

His Excellency added that he seeks to implement many projects in various strategic, developmental, tourism and municipal fields distributed across the various states of the governorate, which will transform the governorate into an investment destination during the coming period, and thanks to the royal support of His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik, it was completed.

Many of them have been implemented, and work is underway on some of them, a total of about 56 projects in the various fields referred to above. These projects are being implemented by various relevant authorities and under the supervision of the Governor’s Office.

His Excellency explained that the percentage of municipal projects that directly affect the life of the community represents the largest percentage, at 39 percent, at the forefront of which is the development of waterfronts, public parks, and children’s playgrounds, in addition to road services, lighting, and urban development in maritime cities and villages, followed by tourism projects at a rate of up to 24 percent, where It varies between (five-star) resorts and hotels, as well as developing daily tourism activities that are a destination for tourists, in addition to adventure activities, as the Oman Adventure Center was launched, which included a number of adventures, the most important of which is the zip line, which is the longest in the world and passes over the sea, in addition to adventure activities. Water and mountain sports activities such as walking, mountain climbing, etc. This sector aspires to contribute to the development of the governorate and provide everything that achieves and serves the interests of citizens on an ongoing basis and is consistent with the implementation of Oman Vision 2040.

The sector works to study draft development plans, propose development projects, and express an opinion on the proposed sites for development, service, economic, and urban projects. Participating in determining the governorate’s needs for public facilities and government services, and proposing projects related to them. The number of topics discussed by the Council in its meetings during the year 2022 reached (75), 56 of which were referred for study or action, and 21 of which were submitted for final recommendations to the concerned authorities.

During the first half of this year, the number of topics dealt with by the Council reached 54, 18 of which were referred for study within the Council, and 36 of which final recommendations were submitted to the concerned authorities. Development projects constitute 21 percent of the total projects in the governorate, which are represented in government schools and hospitals, at the forefront of which are Madha Hospital and Khasab Reference Hospital, which it is hoped will be operational during the next year.

As for strategic projects, they constitute 16 percent, including the road project linking Khasab and Dibba. As well as Musandam Airport, and the establishment of a branch of the University of Technology and Applied Sciences in Musandam, in addition to the ports.

Nahas Industrial City also constitutes an investment attraction factor in the governorate, as its establishment came out of the supreme interest of His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tariq the Great – may God protect and preserve him – to accelerate the wheel of economic and industrial development and attract local and foreign investments in the Musandam Governorate, and incentives and exemptions were allocated for it. Competitive to create job opportunities, enhance local added value, and support the food security system in the governorate. With regard to urban planning and coordination with the Ministry of Housing and Urban Planning, the Musandam Governorate’s urban strategy is based on a community participatory approach, and the aspirations of stakeholders are taken into account during the various stages of the project.

Among the new projects that are being worked on with the Ministry is the Down Town project in the Wilayat of Khasab, and projects Real estate development (Sorouh), and 3 sites were allocated for real estate development projects (Al Harf – Roubaix – Fat). Statistics issued by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Planning indicated that the lands distributed from September 2022 to September 2023 amounted to 241 residential lands and 28 government lands, while the plots of land registered in the same period amounted to 769 lands.

The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth, represented by the Department of Culture, Sports and Youth in the governorate, is the true incubator for the governorate’s youth. Because of its essential role in managing the youth sector and supervising clubs, sports centers, and various youth institutions, this is supported in the governorate by the emergence of many civil society institutions, such as professional associations, which contributed to providing services to youth groups, such as awareness, training, guidance, etc., and during the period In the past, the cultural sector has witnessed a significant recovery through all cultural institutions, the cultural and artistic scene in the governorate was also characterized by many activities and demonstrations in literature, theatre, cinema, music, plastic arts, and others, coinciding with the tourist season in the governorate, “Musandam Winter,” which starts from November until April every year.

Given the natural resources that Musandam enjoys, which are enhanced by the infrastructure of the tourism sector and development projects, the governorate works to combine adventure tourism with recreational, cultural, heritage and environmental tourism, as we focus on the various tourism activities related to adventure tourism. Such as mountain hiking, mountain climbing, diving, and other activities that are popular with adventure tourists.

The tourism sector in Musandam Governorate is witnessing increasing growth in the number of giant cruise ships docking at Khasab Port, as well as in the number of tourists coming from inside and outside the Sultanate of Oman. The number of tourists coming from abroad constitutes the largest percentage, and in order to stimulate this sector, a marketing identity was adopted for the tourist season under the name “Musandam Winter”, through which the tourism components that characterize it are promoted, as well as the holding of many tourism, cultural, artistic and sporting events and programmes.

On the tourism level, a memorandum of cooperation was signed between the Governor’s Office and the Omran Group, through which tourism projects will be established. The Adventure Center was opened, which contains a zip line project – one of the most important tourism projects – and also contains a padel court, in addition to a number of activities.

The water park, which was recently launched, and the Omran Group is working on implementing a number of resorts and tourist hotels in the governorate, and the “Amis Bay” project won the best proposal for a development project, and we hope that it will be an investment area for services in the governorate, characterized by a view of “Amis Bay”, as the project will contain a facility Marine receives boats and ships to facilitate maritime movement and increase investment opportunities.

It will also work to attract investment in the services and tourism sectors in Musandam Governorate and benefit from the governorate’s distinctive locations and sea views. We expect that this project will provide direct and indirect job opportunities and business opportunities for small and medium enterprises and stimulate various sectors such as fisheries wealth. Royal Decree No. (54/2022 AD) establishing the National Natural Park Reserve in Musandam Governorate is an embodiment of the governorate’s rich geographical diversity, natural environment and attractive elements for tourists from various countries of the world.

The Environment Agency is currently working in cooperation with the Governor’s Office to put the Royal Decree into effect in coordination with the ministries and concerned authorities to ensure optimal management of this reserve and to issue regulating rules in accordance with the dimensions and boundaries approved by the decree. Through surveys conducted by the Authority in cooperation with the Musandam Governor’s Office, the reserve reaches Its area is (1149.40) km2, and it includes nine offshore islands, coasts, shallow waters far from the coast, creeks and bays. The islands are among the most important sites that have not been affected by human interventions.

They are of national and regional importance, in addition to being safe areas for nesting of several types of sea and land birds. They also contain stunning natural landscapes and can be considered a natural museum. These islands are composed of protruding limestone rocks. And ancient coral reefs, where coral is clearly visible and includes steep rocky cliffs. Some of the islands are bordered by wide, shallow sand cliffs and a prominent coral range. Green turtles and mercury are also found in the area for nesting and feeding.

They are also considered sites of high importance for protecting wildlife in terms of the abundance of fish and the diversity of coral reefs. Coral reefs, diving and fishing are among the most widely practiced activities, which requires good management to preserve their value for wildlife and entertainment. Marine mammals of various types can be seen in the governorate’s creeks, including the bottlenose dolphin and local species of common dolphin, as well as the spinner dolphin, humpback whale, and others. Statistics issued by the Ministry of Transport, Communications and Information Technology indicate that Khasab Port achieved during the first half of 2023 an increase in the volume of goods handled, reaching 81.6 thousand tons, an increase of 48.5 percent.

The number of ships received by the port also increased, reaching 1,480 ships, by 31.9 percent during the first half of 2023 compared to the first half of 2022, as the port witnessed an increase in the number of cruise ships and yachts.

The data issued by the Ministry of Social Development for Musandam Governorate, based on the “2016-2025” social work strategy, which includes providing a group of different programs and services to groups and cases in need of care and assistance, showed that 1,137 cases were identified as beneficiaries of the social security pension, to whom an amount of one million and 981,903 Omani riyals, and the total number of cases of people with limited income to whom disaster aid was provided reached 47 cases, for which 29 thousand and 700 Omani riyals were disbursed.

The Ministry adopted the “Empowerment” program, which targets cases benefiting from the social security pension and people with limited income. With the aim of transforming them into self-reliant situations, and exploiting their capabilities.

Al-Wafa Centers for the Rehabilitation of Persons with Disabilities provide care, rehabilitation and empowerment services for children with disabilities and awareness-raising activities for the age group between (2-14) years.

The number of people enrolled from the governorate in these centers reached 80 cases, and the Ministry also provides a set of prosthetic devices for persons with disabilities.

The number of beneficiaries in the governorate reached 35 individuals, and the number of people registered in the disabled card system granted to persons with disabilities reached 12 individuals.

The Ministry works to provide social programs and various services, such as guidance and family counseling services for cases suffering from some social, economic and psychological problems. With the aim of reducing or reducing them and finding appropriate solutions for them, the number of cases benefiting from office family guidance and counseling services in the governorate reached 24 cases, while the number of nurseries in the governorate reached 3 with 25 children.

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