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'Oil prices could expedite Oman public investment'

An official from Bunyan said diminished oil prices could spur Oman's government towards more prompt and sustainable project spending

Oman could suffer financing setbacks in 2017. [Representational image]
Oman could suffer financing setbacks in 2017. [Representational image]

The global dip in oil prices could compel Oman's government to reprioritise its investments and "expedite" its projects, a senior official said. 

Talal Al-Masoudi, senior development manager at Bunyan, a subsidiary of Oman Tourism Development Company (Omran), discussed the Sultanate's upcoming tourism opportunities at the Construction Week Awards 2015.

Omran was awarded Hospitality Project of the Year honours for Atana Musandam Resort. 

Speaking to Construction Week following the receipt of his award, Al-Masoudi said: "Oman is a great tourist spot with plenty of attractions, such as natural and heritage sites, and accolades like these will help the sector grow in the country. 

"Atana Musandam has received LEED Silver credits as well, which encourages us to be similarly responsible with our future projects."

Al-Masoudi said he hopes Atana Musandam's credentials will drive higher diligence in Oman's hospitality construction sector. 

"Oman is very rich in terms of tourism, and the government is pushing the sector as well," he continued.

"Our aim is to help the country in terms of [revenues].

"I don't see the oil price as [entirely] negative for us, since it could perhaps place more responsibility on our government and lead it to seriously consider expediting its projects and plans." 

Experts have previously suggested that the sustained drop in crude values could impact Oman's construction sector in 2017. 

This September, Siraj Bhavnagarwalla, senior executive officer at Alpen Capital, said that the Sultanate could face financing roadblocks in light of oil price volatility, which is likely to impact all GCC economies.

"Such a situation may push the Omani government to restrict state spending, hampering the growth of the construction industry, which is materially dependent on government funding," Bhavnagarwalla continued.

"The construction industry opportunity could be affected due to lower investments from the private sector, and declining disposable income levels.

"Furthermore, lower tourist inflow from oil-dependent nations may also indirectly hamper the growth of the construction industry," he added. 

Earlier this month, Robert Holtkamp, CEO of Omani aluminium extruder NAPCO, told Construction Week that while his company appears to be ready in 2016, the impact of low commodity prices could trouble the market in 2017.

When asked how he expects demand for his products to shape up in 2016, Holtkamp replied: "It all depends on the oil prices.

"Budgets have already been allocated for projects in 2016 so we will be busy, but if the prices do not jump up [then] we will feel it in 2017."

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Construction Week - Issue 753
Nov 09, 2019