Oman is expected to run an average fiscal deficit of 11 per cent of GDP over the next five years, according to BMI Research. Bildagentur-online / UIG via Getty Images
Oman is expected to run an average fiscal deficit of 11 per cent of GDP over the next five years, according to BMI Research. Bildagentur-online / UIG via Getty Images

China’s investment in $10.7bn city in Oman to provide building boost

An agreement between Oman’s government and Chinese investors to develop a new US$10.7 billion industrial city near the port of Duqm will help Oman’s flagging construction sector, which is expected to this year post its slowest growth since 2000, according to BMI Research.

BMI said that projects such as the Sino-Oman Industrial City will help to underpin growth for construction in Oman, which it expects to accelerate from a growth rate of 2.4 per cent this year o 4.9 per cent by 2019.

The firm said that inter­national investors, in particular from China, will fill a funding gap in Oman’s industrial sector that has been caused by the oil price plunge and the government’s inability to directly fin­ance work. Oman is expected to run an average fiscal deficit of 11 per cent of GDP over the next five years, according to BMI.

“Although Oman possesses a degree of private investment in its construction sector, the state still plays a pre-eminent role in funding infrastructure projects, and as oil accounts for approximately 85 per cent of government revenue, the collapse in price has had a negative impact on its ability to finance projects,” said David Lee, an infrastructure analyst covering Oman for BMI Research.

The 50-year deal signed in late May was “promising” as it would also help with Oman’s economic diversification, he added. The project involves Chinese investors developing about 11.7 square kilometres of land within the Special Economic Zone next to Duqm’s port (Sezad).

The consortium putting in the money, led by Ningxia China-Arab Wanfang, is planning three separate zones – heavy manufacturing, light manufacturing and a mixed-use area.

In total, some 35 projects will be undertaken, including construction of an oil refinery capable of processing 235,000 barrels per day, a petrochemicals complex, a concrete plant, a steel smelter, a glass factory, an aluminium plant and a solar factory producing panels and batteries.

Ningxia China-Arab Wanfang, which is made up of six private companies backed by the regional government from the Ningxia autonomous region of northern China, has committed to developing at least 30 per cent of the site by 2022. By this time, it is expected to have facilities capable of housing a population of 25,000, including schools, offices, a hospital and a sports centre. Another section of the site has been reserved for a tourism project with a five-star hotel. Construction will be carried out by consortium member Duqm Ningxia Construction Company, and infrastructure work is already under way.

The construction of the city would be financed by Chinese banks, but each industrial fac­ility would be financed by the companies building them, Ali Shah, the chairman of local subsidiary Oman Wanfang, told Duqm Economist, a newsletter published by the Duqm Special Economic Zone Authority. Mr Lee said the investment was in line with the Chinese government's One Belt, One Road initiative of boosting Chinese investment abroad, which has already involved Chinese entities backing infrastructure projects in Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

“Given Oman’s strategic loca­tion on the Gulf, we believe the country is next in line to see large-scale Chinese investment,” said Mr Lee.

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Author: Kaoutar Harchi 

Publisher: Other Press

Pages: 176

Available: Now


Director: Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah

Starring: Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Joe Pantoliano

Rating: 3.5/5

The distance learning plan

Spring break will be from March 8 - 19

Public school pupils will undergo distance learning from March 22 - April 2. School hours will be 8.30am to 1.30pm

Staff will be trained in distance learning programmes from March 15 - 19

Teaching hours will be 8am to 2pm during distance learning

Pupils will return to school for normal lessons from April 5

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Director: Stephen Merchant 

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Difference between fractional ownership and timeshare

Although similar in its appearance, the concept of a fractional title deed is unlike that of a timeshare, which usually involves multiple investors buying “time” in a property whereby the owner has the right to occupation for a specified period of time in any year, as opposed to the actual real estate, said John Peacock, Head of Indirect Tax and Conveyancing, BSA Ahmad Bin Hezeem & Associates, a law firm.

Key changes

Commission caps

For life insurance products with a savings component, Peter Hodgins of Clyde & Co said different caps apply to the saving and protection elements:

• For the saving component, a cap of 4.5 per cent of the annualised premium per year (which may not exceed 90 per cent of the annualised premium over the policy term). 

• On the protection component, there is a cap  of 10 per cent of the annualised premium per year (which may not exceed 160 per cent of the annualised premium over the policy term).

• Indemnity commission, the amount of commission that can be advanced to a product salesperson, can be 50 per cent of the annualised premium for the first year or 50 per cent of the total commissions on the policy calculated. 

• The remaining commission after deduction of the indemnity commission is paid equally over the premium payment term.

• For pure protection products, which only offer a life insurance component, the maximum commission will be 10 per cent of the annualised premium multiplied by the length of the policy in years.


Customers must now be provided with a full illustration of the product they are buying to ensure they understand the potential returns on savings products as well as the effects of any charges. There is also a “free-look” period of 30 days, where insurers must provide a full refund if the buyer wishes to cancel the policy.

“The illustration should provide for at least two scenarios to illustrate the performance of the product,” said Mr Hodgins. “All illustrations are required to be signed by the customer.”

Another illustration must outline surrender charges to ensure they understand the costs of exiting a fixed-term product early.

Illustrations must also be kept updatedand insurers must provide information on the top five investment funds available annually, including at least five years' performance data.

“This may be segregated based on the risk appetite of the customer (in which case, the top five funds for each segment must be provided),” said Mr Hodgins.

Product providers must also disclose the ratio of protection benefit to savings benefits. If a protection benefit ratio is less than 10 per cent "the product must carry a warning stating that it has limited or no protection benefit" Mr Hodgins added.

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Company name: Cargoz
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Founders: Premlal Pullisserry and Lijo Antony
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Number of staff: 30
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Various Artists 
Habibi Funk: An Eclectic Selection Of Music From The Arab World (Habibi Funk)


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5.30pm: Sir Baniyas Island – Maiden (PA) Dh80,000 (T) 1,400m; Winner: SSR Ghazwan, Antonio Fresu, Ibrahim Al Hadhrami

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7pm: Yas Island – Handicap (PA) Dh80,000 (T) 2,200m; Winner: AF Mukhrej, Tadhg O’Shea, Ernst Oertel

7.30pm: Saadiyat Island – Handicap (TB) Dh80,000 (T) 2,400m; Winner: Celestial Spheres, Gary Sanchez, Ismail Mohammed

TECH SPECS: APPLE WATCH SE (second generation)

Display: 40mm, 324 x 394; 44mm, 368 x 448; Retina LTPO OLED, up to 1000 nits; Ion-X glass

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Price: Starts at Dh999 (40mm) / 1,119 (44mm)

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