Oman investment Authority Launches Four Programmes to Boost ICV

Muscat: Oman Investment Authority (OIA) today launched four programmes to enhance In-country value and local content as part of the ‘Qimam’ Project.

Those include a Mandatory List Programme, a Vendor Development Programme and Ring-fencing of Products and Services programme, as well as a Research, Development, and Innovation Guidelines programme.

Nasser Sulaiman Al Harthy, Deputy President for Operations at OIA, said that OIA is committed to empowering the Omani private sector, enriching local content, and developing and incentivizing SMEs. Accordingly, it established a dedicated directorate to manage all matters related to ICV, research, development, and innovation, as well as social investment in OIA and its companies.

He added that the main elements necessary for improving the Omani workforce, enhancing the growth of SMEs, and regulating the process of research, development and innovation, and social investment had been identified with a view to promoting the local economy and developing a sustainable competitive market for goods, services, and human capital.

On his turn, Al Mutasim Said Al Sariri, Director of In-country Value (ICV) at OIA, said that there are six main pillars that were identified as being the main pillars of the ICV Directorate at OIA, i.e., strategic planning for programmes and policies that enhance local content; contributing to the development of SMEs, empowerment of the national workforce and developing local suppliers; optimization of research, development, and innovation; governance of social investment programmes; and following up on the performance of OIA companies in terms of local content.

He pointed out that the four programmes launched by OIA as part of the ICV project ‘Qimam’ include: the Mandatory List of Products and Services, Vendor Development Programme, Ring-fencing of Products and Services, and Research, Development, and Innovation Guidelines.

Al Sariri noted that these programmes aim to support local suppliers of products and services, giving priority to local products, encourage the manufacturing of products instead of importing them, and motivate SMEs to enter the competition, in addition to building capabilities of local suppliers, and creating a culture of research, development, and innovation in OIA companies.

The development and design of the four programmes went through several phases, starting with a study of the local market to analyze supply and demand and available business opportunities, followed by further analysis of the supply chains and local market data to identify the availability of local suppliers before enlisting services and products in the programmes. The programmes were shared with a number of relevant government entities and OIA companies in order to determine the types of products and services that can be defined for the local market as well as the programmes related to SMEs. Moreover, the ICV action plan was embedded in the balanced scorecard and general performance indicators of OIA companies, with a view to following up on implementation during the months ahead.

The Mandatory List Programme includes services and products that OIA companies are required to purchase and supply from local companies. Initially, the list, which is to be updated regularly, consists of 103 products and services, including 78 products, such as cables, buses, wooden pallets, medications, cleaning products and chemicals, office supplies, uniforms, food and beverages, gifts and general consumables; in addition to 25 services, including legal consultations, waste management, media, and manufacturing quality tests.

To meet the objectives of this mandatory list, a mechanism is applied for selecting services and products in a manner that ensures the availability of suppliers and enhances competitiveness, taking into account high-quality standards and Omanization plans in the supplier companies. This, in turn, contributes to supporting the local market, giving it a priority to compete for opportunities, and encouraging it to manufacture products instead of importing them.

Moreover, the Vendor Development Programme aims to enhance and develop the capabilities of local companies, including SMEs, in new fields. The programme enables OIA companies to work closely with local companies in order to build and develop solutions. Meanwhile, it will give companies the opportunity to develop and enhance their performance by building new capabilities, in addition to localizing new industries and upgrading them. The programme is expected to improve the performance of suppliers in the local market, encourage innovation and enhance their competitiveness, as well as upgrade the capabilities of the Omani workforce.

On the other hand, the Ring-fencing of Products and Services programme aims to allocate a certain percentage of the scope of work to local companies in order to increase their market share. The programme, which targets SMEs and local companies, is expected to contribute to developing the capabilities of local companies, creating a competitive and sustainable local market for goods and services, and improving the capabilities of the Omani workforce, in addition to increasing the productivity of the local market.

The Research, Development and Innovation Guidelines programme aims to enhance the research, development, and innovation eco-system in OIA companies by integrating it into their business strategies and industrial activities, with emphasis on certain areas, such as food and circular economy, digital transformation and artificial intelligence, and energy and decarbonization. This translates into improving the efficiency of operations, adding new products and services and strategic research projects that can become viable commercial projects in the future, and making well-informed decisions based on data.

Further, the event also witnessed multiple agreements signed between OIA companies and other local companies, including SMEs to promote cooperation in research, development, and innovation to the tune of over RO 1 billion.

Asyad group has signed two agreements, one with Rihal company to initiate a digital database project, in which a data warehouse will be developed with analysis capabilities using the latest technologies in data science. The developed technology will allow decision-makers to make well-informed decisions that are based on facts and precise inputs and will also allow employees to access data from other departments in the company. The second agreement was signed with the German University of Technology (GUtech) to develop a technology that helps in reducing emissions from cargo ships by capturing and liquefying carbon dioxide to facilitate storage and transportation.

Nama holding has signed contracts with local companies covering three key scopes; the supply of cables and conductors, the supply of electric switches, and the supply of low-voltage substations.

On the other hand, Fisheries Development Oman announced cooperation with Khat Al Wusta International Co. to establish a manufacturing plant for fish container boxes using international standards to meet the existing demand from the group and the local market while building the capacity to expand into regional markets. The cost of the first phase is estimated at about RO 0.5 million.

It should be noted that OIA has launched several programsme, initiatives, policies, and meetings to enhance ICV, e.g., issuing the Tendering and Procurement Policy and the Guiding Principles of in-country value, in addition to completion of the implementation of the ICV action plan for 2022, and creating an action plan and integrated programme for 2023. Moreover, OIA issued a package of supporting measures for SMEs, including sourcing purchases that do not exceed RO 10,000 from SMEs holding the entrepreneurship card “Riyada”, and allocating 10% of OIA purchases to SMEs, in addition to exempting them from tender fees and granting them a preferential percentage of 10% in procurements and contracts that range from RO 10,000 up to RO 50,000 in materials, services, etc. – ONA

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