Muscat: Al Mazunah Free Zone has seen significant investments in the first quarter of 2016, as agreements have been signed with 21 companies, along with plans to build a hotel in the free zone, according to Hilal bin Hamad Al Hasani, chief executive officer of the Public Establishment for Industrial Estates (PEIE) and chairman of the Al Mazunah Free Zone Committee.
"The total number of multinational companies that signed agreements in Al Mazunah Free Zone exceeds 75. In addition, there are more than 25 investment applications that are currently under study. The free zone has seena significant increase in commercial traffic during the first quarter of 2016, as the number of incoming and outgoing vehicles from Al Mazunah Free Zone exceeds 11,000 vehicles," Al Hasani pointed out.
Nearly 13,000 tonnes of goods passed through the free zone during the first quarter, withtrade surpassing $150 million. Al Hasani noted that this commercial activity has had a positive impact on all economic sectors. “The import operations through Omani ports have resulted in significant development, and have eventually enhanced the activity of Oman’s transport sector,” Al Hasani added.
Al Hasani emphasised that commercial movement in the free zone provides job opportunities and business prospects for young people living in the Al Mazunah Free Zone. "Some of these youths have begun their private projects in the field of customs clearance, goods handling and goods movements, in addition to the Sanad offices.The PEIE works constantly to highlight available business opportunities in Al Mazunah Free Zone, along with emphasising its strategic location.
"The PEIE undertakes constant efforts to underscore the vision of PEIE, which is to enhance the Sultanate’s position as a leading regional centre of manufacturing, ICT, innovation and excellence in entrepreneurship, and its mission is to attract industrial investments and provide continued support through regionally and globally competitive strategies, good infrastructure, value added services, and simpler governmental processes.
Al Mazunah Free Zone was established under Royal Decree no. 103/2005 to operate under the management of PEIE. The zone is currently completing infrastructure work, in line with the international standards of the free zones. The strategic location of Al Mazunah Free Zone on the border of the Sultanate and Yemen makes it the Gulf gateway for transit trade to Yemen and Eastern Africa.
Further, Al Mazunah Free Zone aims to attract local and international investments to increase the volume of trade, attract advanced technologies and create job opportunities.
Also, major services have been completed recently in Al Mazunah Free Zone, including the road network linking the free zone with neighbouring cities and markets, in addition to communication, electricity, water and sewage services.
General incentives are offered to investors, including 30 years of tax free operations, customs’ exemptions, 100 per cent foreign ownership and no minimum capital requirements.Other incentives include the Omanisation ratio in the free zone being only 10 per cent, along with assistance for procedures for non-GCC investors to obtain visa and residency permits. Al Mazunah Free Zone also offers other incentives, including easy access of individuals and investors to the free zone, without entry visasbeing required for Yemenis.