Omani government presses ahead with telecom sell-off
The Omani government recently approved the privatization of the Oman Telecommunications Company (Omantel), by making the purchase of a 40 percent stake in the firm available to local and foreign investors, confirmed the official ONA news agency.
The ownership of the remaining 60 percent of Omantel’s shares will be held by the government, nine percent of which will be allocated to Omani retirement funds, stated Omani Minister of Transport and Telecommunications Malik Bin Suleiman Al-Muammari.
The privatization of Omantel, the national operator in the Sultanate of Oman, was delayed by two years, with the most recent hampering of the process being attributed to the global economic slowdown. In a bid to diversify away from oil revenues, the Omani government has already privatized its two airports and gave approval for private investors to build and operate power plants in the Sultanate.
Headquarters in Muscat, government-owned OmanTel is the country’s sole provider of telephony, mobile and Internet services. Full Internet service became available in early in 1997 and after a relatively slow start, usage increased significantly between 1999-2000. It is estimated that Oman’s 2.4 million strong population will need about 500,000 telephone lines by the year 2020. — (menareport.com)
© 2002 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)