Oman's Sultan unveils plans for new city for low-income citizens

Sultan Haitham City will provide homes for 100,000 people

A design showing how the city will look once complete. Oman News Agency
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Oman's Sultan Haitham on Wednesday announced the construction of a new city on the outskirts of Muscat.

Sultan Haitham City is being built to accommodate Omani citizens on low incomes.

The Oman News Agency said 20,000 properties would be built on 14.8 million square metres.

Once complete, the city will house up to 100,000 residents and will include schools, places of worships, hospitals, a university and shopping centres.

Construction will start early next year and is expected to take three years to complete.

A ceremony involving the announcement of the vast building project was held at Al Alam Palace in Muscat and attended by cabinet ministers and dignitaries.

“It is a giant gesture from the Sultan to present this gift to ordinary Omanis who cannot afford their properties,” an official who wished to remain anonymous told The National.

Priority will be given to married couples who are struggling to afford rent in their current homes, the official added.

Mohammed Al Esri, a retail assistant in Muscat, said the “city will be built for people like us who don’t earn enough to buy our own homes”.

“I am very excited about the news and God bless the Sultan,” he added.

Many of those on low incomes in Oman are covered by the social security scheme.

These include people who earn the minimum wage, orphans, widows, divorcees, unmarried women, families of prisoners, the disabled and senior citizens.

Others who live in crammed family accommodation welcomed the announcement on Wednesday.

“There are 16 of us who are currently living in a four-bedroom house,” said university student Abdullah Al Khusaibi. “I share it with three of my brothers who are married with their children, plus two sisters and our parents. It is quite overcrowded.

“The news will benefit my married brothers and inshallah [God willing] they will get their own accommodation.”

Some experts say the plan will breathe new life into Oman's economy.

“The new city will have schools, university, hospitals, shopping arcades, landscaping, transportation units and that will boost the economy, create jobs and new business opportunities,” Khalid Al Barwani, an economist at Muscat Finance Company, told The National.

“It is a great way to continue with the development and the expansion of the city of Muscat.”

Updated: May 31, 2023, 12:22 PM