Projecting a total government spending of $10 billion for the construction industry in the financial year 2012, an increase of 23 percent over the corresponding figure for 2011, Engineer Abdullah bin Rashid Al Kiyumi, director-general of projects at the Ministry of Housing, asserted that the pace of infrastructure spending will be equally vigorous during the Eighth Five-Year Development Plan. He stated that infrastructure projects provide the essential underpinnings upon which the government's economic diversification and employment generation goals can be achieved.
Such projects, he added, also contribute to balanced economic development in the different governorates of the Sultanate. He was speaking at the inaugural day of the Oman Construction Summit yesterday. The summit will conclude today. Organised by Global Exhibitions and Conferences (GEC) and International Quality and Productivity Centre (IQPC), the summit was inaugurated by Dr. Rasheed bin Safi Al Huraibi, chairman of Tender Board. Engineer Abdullah bin Rashid Al Kiyumi said: "The construction industry is one of the mainstays of our economic growth and prosperity. This is strongly evident in the substantial outlays announced by the Omani government towards construction projects and infrastructure schemes in the 2012 state budget, as well as the revised Eighth Five Year Development Plan.
Spending will continue apace on a wide array of infrastructure projects, notably roads, ports, airports, water supply schemes, sewerage treatment plants, real estate projects and dozens of schools and hospitals. Construction of the one-billion rial Batinah Expressway project will get underway as well, while private sector investment in tourism and leisure-related ventures is envisaged in a major way." Urban transportation Allocations towards the housing sector have surged 21.5 percent from RO266 million in 2011 to RO323 million this year. This includes a government commitment of earmarking RO120 million for the construction of 2,500 housing units for low income citizens," he added. He pointed out that the summit is also an opportunity for participants to network with each other and bring themselves up to speed on the various projects and issues driving this important industry. "Panel discussions will focus on topics designed to inject efficiency, best practices, and new benchmarks in raising the overall standards of this sector. I hope this summit will help play a more rewarding role in the development of Oman's construction and infrastructure sector," he said. It may be recalled that besides the housing sector, in the civil engineering domains, the expenditure increased substantially by about 17 percent on annual basis to RO1.4 billion focusing mainly on development projects in different sectors.
Earlier, Said bin Hamdoon bin Saif Al Harthy, undersecretary for ports and maritime affairs at the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, gave an overview of his ministry's ongoing development projects. Vice minister Rainer Bomba, secretary of state, Federal Ministry of Transport, building and urban development, Germany, spoke on the link between infrastructure and economic growth with Germany as an example. While Serkan Misirlioglu, vice-president, business development and tenders, STFA Construction group, focused his presentation at Oman's construction sector from a contractor's point of view. Insights into Turkey's success in developing efficient urban transportation systems were offered by Mehmet Oguz Efe, project manager at Makyol construction and industry and trading, which is undertaking construction projects in Oman. Other highlights of the day included presentations by senior figures from STFA, Omran, PDO, Volkmann & Rossbach, and the British Standards Institution.
An exhibition was also inaugurated by Dr. Rasheed bin Safi Al Huraibi, chairman of Tender Board as part of the summit. "This second edition of the Oman Construction Summit builds on the enormous success of our maiden summit last year, which was well received for its comprehensive and incisive focus on the industry. This time around, a host of exciting, new themes have been added to the agenda, with several eminent speakers - local and international - brought on board to add further value to the proceedings," said C. J. Paul, chief executive of Global Exhibitions and Conferences.