Oman is planning to spend more than $50bn on megaprojects in the next 10-15 years, Ahmed bin Hassan al-Dheeb, undersecretary to the sultanate’s Commerce and Industry Ministry told the MEED Oman Projects Forum 2013 held in Muscat.

Delivering the keynote speech on behalf of Ali bin Masoud al-Sunaidy, Oman’s commerce and industry minister, Al-Dheeb told the MEED event on 29 October that “the next few years are likely to see some of the largest investments in megaprojects that the country has ever witnessed”.

The speech highlighted the transport, oil and gas, and manufacturing sectors as areas that will receive significant investment.

This includes $20bn-worth of expenditure on transport infrastructure, which will include the Oman National Railway project and the ongoing and planned new airports at Sohar, Ras al-Hadd, Duqm and Adam, in addition to the expansion of Muscat International airport.

The oil and gas sector will receive project spending of above $17bn, a major part of which is the $15bn Khazzan project being developed by the UK’s BP. Al-Sunaidy’s speech also said the manufacturing sector is expected to receive $13bn-worth of investment in the coming years.

“In addition, there will be many billions of dollars of investment in tourism, logistics and power and water,” said Al-Sunaidy.

Stating that investment will come from the government and private sector, he said the challenge will be ensuring the expenditure in the scheme brings long-term benefits such as increased jobs for Omani nationals.

He said the investment programme will only be meaningful if it results in fulfilling three key objectives: diversification of the economy; increased jobs for the young Omani population; and an increase of local economic activity.

“The challenge is to leverage these to create further opportunities within the sultanate, rather than letting the megaprojects merely result in foreign exchange outflow and the creation of economic activity abroad,” he said.