India’s Ambassador to Oman aims for trade value exceeding the current $6 billion, and more FDI

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هذه الصفحة متوفرة بهذه اللغة: العربية

11 December 2020

MUSCAT (WAF)- Oman’s accumulative Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into India has amounted to $540 million between April 2000 and September 2020, official data by India’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry shows.

Munu Mahawar Ambassador of India to Oman told WAF News that following the joint investment by Oman and India in Bina refinery in India, government and private investors showed higher interest in India’s massive market as an investment destination.

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One iconic symbol of investment ties between the two countries, is Oman India Joint Investment Fund (OIJIF), a joint venture between Oman Investment Authority and State Bank of India. “They (the partners) had fully utilised the first tranche of 100 million dollars, and now they are investing the second tranche of 240 million dollars,” Ambassador Mahawar said.

He added that “investment figures are always difficult to capture,” and that the official figures of Omani FDI into India of $540 million do not reflect other indirect investment from Oman into India through a third party or portfolio investment.

Mahawar sees the current size of investments is “much below the potential” compared to the prospect for investments in India. “We believe that India can be a strong partner in all priority areas identified by Oman in its vision 2040 and Tanfeedh program,” He added.

In Oman, the total FDI from India by the third quarter of 2019 amounted to 274 million Omani Rials ($712 million), the official data by Oman’s National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI) shows.

India’s Ambassador told WAF News “if you see the free zones in Sohar and Salalah, Indian investors are the largest investors if you look at non-oil and gas sector.” India was also one of the very first investors in Duqm with Sebacic Oman.

According to Mahawar, the Omani market is attractive to Indian investors due to “Its location, its excellent infrastructure and the low utility cost” as well as trade arrangements with other countries, which gives the Indian investors access to broader markets.

Asked whether the costs of utilities and gas are still attractive in the wake of the application of the Cost Reflective Tariff (CRT), as of 2017, and the annual increase in gas prices, Ambassador Mahawar said: “as of now, yes it is still attractive.” “Because we are looking at the cost of these utilities in Oman vis-à-vis the cost of utilities in India,” he added.

Mahawar expressed the positive impact of the new Omani Foreign Investment law, issued in 2019, which gives Oman another attractive factor by permitting 100% ownership to foreign investors.

Speaking on the newly approved Oman India Friendship Association (OIFA), the Ambassador said that Omani and Indian business people from the private sector have been spearheading the business cooperation for the last several years. And the new association “will help promote these linkages between business entities on both sides.”

During the last fiscal year in India (April 2019- March 2020), the value of bilateral trade with Oman amounted to $5.93 billion, compared to $5.01 billion in the previous year. According to India’s Ministry of Commerce, the 18.4% increase was a result of 32.95% increase in Omani exports to India and a 0.52% increase in Oman’s imports from India.

India is one of the top importers of Omani crude oil. In the first 10 months of 2020, India was the biggest oil importer after China, with 11.3 million barrels. Yet “the share of crude oil is not very large in our trade basket,” Mahawar clarify.