Majlis AShura Discusses Transport, Communications Minister Statement

Majlis A’Shura toady discussed

statement of Dr. Ahmed bin Mohammed al-Futaisi, Minister of Transport

and Communications who presented the ministry’s statement during

the 11th regular session of the 3rd annual sitting (2017 � 2018) of the

8th term (2015 � 2019) under the chair of Khalid bin Hilal al-Ma’awali,

Chairman of Majlis A’Shura in the presence of Sheikh Ali bin Nasser

al-Mahrouqi, Secretary General of the Majlis.

The session began with a speech by the Chairman of the Majlis

who pointed out that the Minister of Transport and Communications will

touch on several themes including the logistics sector and its

contribution to diversifying resources of the national economy and

achieving the comprehensive development of the promising sectors,

addressing the initiatives related to the logistics sector, which was

assigned to the Ministry of Transport and Communications.

He added that Dr. al-Futaisi will address in the statement the

general features of the sectors of land transport, public transport,

policies and laws governing land transport activities that aimed at

regulating the activities of the two sectors, and serving the objectives

and requirements of economic development.

The statement of the Minister of Transport and

Communications discussed various sectors of transport and

communications in the Sultanate, including logistics, transport,

aviation, port and maritime affairs, telecommunications and post, and

Oman Rail. The statement also discussed themes related to following

up implementation of projects, updating infrastructure for the sectors,

financing them and setting up investments at such sectors, as well as

the areas of institutional development.

In its first focus, the statement addressed the logistics sector,

which is being relied on driving the economic diversification as it links

other sectors and as its success enhances the durability and

sustainability of the Sultanate’s economy. This trend illustrates the

Government’s efforts represented by the Ministry of Transport and

Communications to formulate the national logistics strategy 2040 and

establish the Oman Logistics Centre to oversee the implementation of

the strategy and the establishment of the Oman Global Logistics

Group (ASYAD) in June 2016 and the Oman Aviation Group in June

2017.

Further, the statement referred to the conclusion of the logistics

sector lab within the National Programme for Enhancing Economic

Diversification (Tanfeedh). The laboratory produced 16 initiatives

assigned to the Ministry of Transport and Communications with the aim

of increasing the contribution of the sector to the GDP to about RO2

billion, as well as increasing jobs availed by the logistics sector to

reach (80,000) jobs by 2020.

The second theme of the statement discussed the road projects

implemented by the Ministry in various governorates of the Sultanate.

The length of the asphalt road network, which was supervised by the

Ministry until the end of 2017, reached 14,840 km while the length of

the dirt roads reached 17,281 km.

The statement pointed out that the ministry attaches a great

importance to the quality management system and the road

management system, which contributes to the development of the

national economy by saving the cost of road users, such as fuel

consumption, vehicle maintenance and time factor, as well as reducing

the cost of maintenance of the current dirt road network after

converting them to asphalt roads, and the development of industrial,

environmental, commercial and tourism sectors, as well as the social

benefits of citizens through the ease of social communication and

economic growth, and opening new development areas.

The third theme focused on the ports and maritime affairs

sector. The Ministry aims to achieve a number of objectives during the

Ninth Five-Year Plan (2016-2020). The most important of these are the

expansion of the sea ports through the improvement and development

of equipment, the establishment and deepening of berths, the

introduction of the necessary basic services, and studying future

avenues of maritime transport, in addition to enhancing investment at

free zones.

The fourth theme reviewed the general features of the airport

projects and the rates of completion of the works. The Ministry started

to rebuild the infrastructure of airports in the Sultanate, which included

the establishment of Muscat International Airport and Salalah Airport,

as well as regional airports in Ras Al Hadd, Duqm and Sohar. The new

Muscat International Airport has witnessed significant progress in

completion performance, and the airport is scheduled to open on 20

March 2018.

The statement of the Minister of Transport and

Communications referred to the spread of telecommunication services

and their diversity, as well as the introduction of modern services and

technology in the Sultanate. Dr. al-Futaisi pointed out that the

penetration rate of mobile services reached 155.87% at the population

level, with a prevalence of 7,136,173 million subscribers, fixed

telecommunications to about 82.99% on the housing level. The

penetration rate of mobile broadband service was also high (3G and

above) 95% of the total population while the percentage of broadband

through fiber optic reached 22% in various governorates of the

Sultanate. 44% of the total housing was covered in the Governorate of

Muscat alone. The number of users of the fiber optic network provided

by Oman Broadband Company reached 40,000 active users. The

number of government institutions connected to the government

network reached 19.

In the postal sector, the statement pointed out that the

number of companies operating in the postal sector is about 16

companies licensed to provide a range of miscellaneous postal services

(117) outlets to provide services in the various governorates of the

Sultanate, employing about (689) employees, (192) expatriates.

The Ministry of Transport and Communications said that Oman

Railway is currently studying the planning and development of a local

railway known as the “Metal Line,” which aims to facilitate the transport

of mineral materials (gypsum and limestone) from Al Shuwaimiyah in

the Governorate of Dhofar through Duqm Port to export to the world

markets. The length of the line is 375 km and a royal decree has been

issued on declaring the project as a public utility. The route will be

designed to be operated among the GCC states and thus contribute to

enabling infrastructure development in the area around the line. The

Public Authority for Mining (PAM) and Oman Minerals Development

Company is currently studying the quantity of minerals in the zone and

examining their economic feasibility so as the Oman Rail will then build

the line.

After the Minister of Transport and Communications delivered

the ministry’s statement, a number of questions and queries were

raised by the Majlis members that focused on the development of

infrastructure and permanent development of roads in the various

wilayats and governorates of the Sultanate, as well as the ministry’s

plans to develop the Sultanate’s airports, seaports and postal services.

The Majlis members inquired about a number of topics,

including standards and metrology based on the achievements of

Muscat International Airport and the impact of the privatisation of the

public transport sector on taxi drivers.

The Majlis A’Shura will continue to discuss the statement of the

Minister of Transport and Communications during the 12th regular

session of the third annual sitting (2017-2018) of the 8th term tomorrow

(Monday), 26 February 2018.

Source: Oman News Agency