Eighty-two foreign companies have submitted bids to become Oman's foreign partner in communications, officials said Tuesday. Oman plans to privatize part of its communications network, selling 34 percent of the company to a foreign concern.
Darwish Al-Baloushi, deputy finance minister told Omani newspapers that all the bidding companies have met the requirements and are eligible. Darwish said Oman enlisted the help of the Merrill Lynch Company to set the bidding criteria and help choose the best bid.
Darwish said a ministerial committee has been established by the government to oversee the privatization process to the last detail, the signing of an agreement with Oman's "strategic" partner.
In 1996, Oman took the decision to privatize the country's telecommunications company. Darwish said the government believes a partner would help the company grow and improve the administration of the company and its competitiveness. He said company employees are kept up to date on the privatization process since the changes will affect them, in terms of training and competence and overall work conditions.
Oman is moving toward privatizing several institutes and public projects, Darwish said. The move is part of Oman's determination to enter a new economic era where the private sector is given priority in the economic growth and the development projects. Under this new approach, Oman has signed a contract with a private company privatizing an electrical plant in the eastern part of Oman.
The company will invest 44 million Omani riyals (OR), $120 million, to build the plant and the government will pay OR24 million for an electrical transports network.
Oman's economic Minister, Ahmed Meckey, said the electrical plant in east Oman would help expedited real estate development and commerce in that part of the country. According to the agreement, the government will buy electrical power from the company for 15 years starting from 2002, the project starting date.
The agreement also stipulates that the company release 35 percent of its stock for public holding within four years of its establishment. Meckey said the government expects the project to attract local and foreign investment to future privatization projects. — (Albawaba-MEBG)
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