Muscat, Jan 1 (ONA) —— The 10th Five Year Development Plan (2021-2025) kicks off today, following the issuance of Royal Decree No. 1/2021.
It is the first plan within the strategic Vision Oman 2040 which derives impetus from the Royal patronage and wise directives of His Majesty Sultan Haitham Bin Tarik. Hence a new era commences, proclaiming a qualitative shift in the Sultanate’s development march.
The Ministry of Economy said in a statement that this Plan reflects His Majesty the Sultan’s Royal noble approaches stated in the historic nation speech of His Majesty on 23 February 2020 in which he outlined the salient features of national action over the next period: the restructuring of the State’s Administrative Apparatus, enhancing the trend of youth engagement in development efforts, empowerment of women in different spheres, stressing the significance of Oman 2040 vision’s goals and developing laws and legislations in a manner that accommodates present and future requirements, which will, in turn, accelerate the pace of comprehensive, sustainable development.
The Ministry pointed out that any long-term strategy needs to be associated with medium range plans which set specific goals and programs linked to performance indicators within an all-round schema of follow-up and evaluation.
The Ministry explained that the 10th Five Year Development Plan launches Oman 2040 vision, which focuses on four main axes ramifying into 14 National Priorities, 88 Strategic Goals and 68 Performance Indicators.
The First Axis is themed “Society Manned By Creative Individuals”. It focuses on education, learning, research, national talents, health, citizenship, identity, heritage, national culture, welfare, social security and youth development.
The Second Axis, themed “Economy Imbedded In A Competitive Environment”, deals with issues of leadership, economic management, economic diversification, fiscal sustainability, the labour market and employment, the private sector, investment, international cooperation, the development of governorates, sustainable cities and information technology.
The Third Axis, themed “Environment Whose Resources are Sustainable”, covers aspects of the environment and natural resources.
The Fourth Axis, themed “A State With Responsible Institutions”, deals with issues of legislation, the judiciary, auditing/monitoring, governance of the State’s Administrative Apparatus, resources and projects.
In its statement, the Ministry said that the preparation of the 10th Five Year Development Plan has been made in adverse, exceptional conditions, including the slump in international oil prices and coronavirus (Covid-19 pandemic). The collapse of oil prices brought about negative impact on human development, global recession, a surge in the general debt vis-à-vis the GDP that pulled down the country’s credit rating and increased the rate of borrowing and caused a decline in the contribution of the private sector to economic activity.
Still, the Plan managed to restructure the goals and come up with clear-cut national approaches linked to timed executive programmes. It also restored economic growth, accelerated the rate of economic activities and achieved a balanced ratio of economic and social development through the execution of programmes, initiatives and proposed projects within a comprehensively regulated timeframe.
The first stage of preparation of the Plan focused on evaluating what was achieved earlier and tapping the outcome of strategies, plans and research made by the State’s sectors, said the Ministry, noting that the first stage also included expanding the base of participation and the formation of committee and specialized working teams. The drafting of the Plan’s estimates took into consideration the current economic circumstances and the actual fiscal performance of the previous five year plan.
The Ministry indicated that, since December 2019 till today, 195 workshops and technical meetings have been held, with the participation of more than 1,900 participants. During this period, the current situation and existing challenges were reviewed. Based on Oman 2040 strategy’ approaches, the 10th Five Year Development Plan determined priority goals which outline the features of development over the next five years. It also devised strategic goals, programmes and instruments through which the follow-up and assessment of project results could be realized.
The statement added that the Plan seeks to achieve a number of economic and social priority goals with the prime aim of activating the economy, developing macro-economy environment, upgrading the performance of general finance, realizing the rationalization of public spending (particularly recurrent one) and espousing expandable, well-disciplined financial policy that achieves sustainable growth rates.
The Plan also targets the setting up necessary infrastructure for the acceleration of private investment and the execution of major strategic projects and public-private sector partnership projects, as well the attraction of direct foreign investment, while at the same time considering prospects for oil prices based on average price of $48 per barrel during the years of the plan. This is in addition to backing the participation of governorates in the achievement of Oman 2040 vision’s goals.
Sector-wise, the Plan focuses on economic diversification mechanisms and programmes and raising the contribution of non-oil activities. It sets a 3.2% annual average growth rate of non-oil activities in the GDP by focusing on promising economic sectors like high-tech converting industries, agriculture, fisheries, food processing, transporting, storing and logistics.
The Plan also targets increasing the contribution of the private sector to economic activities of high in-country value, the completion of value, production and import chains, the motivation of small and medium enterprises by encouraging innovation, knowledge-based economy, fourth industrial revolution (4IR) applications, artificial intelligence, specialized markets and risk capital and generating decent employment for Omani youth, notably in the entrepreneurship field.
The Plan lays great emphasis on protecting human capital and diminishing the repercussions of Covid-19, pressing ahead with the development of the health schema and the sector of medical industries, encouraging the contribution of the private sector to health sector s by providing high-quality services, developing the system of pre-university and graduate education and laying the foundation of administrative, economic and financial decentralization.
In addition, the Plan covers the protection of the environment, the achievement of environmental sustainability, the development of green and blue economy, increasing the contribution of clean and renewable energy to economic activity and achieving the most ideal utilization of marine resources.
In its statement, the Ministry of Economy pointed out that the 10th Five Year Development Plan aims to achieve true growth in Gross Domestic Product that is not less than 3.5% during the years of the Plan, as well as realizing 5.5% growth rate by current prices during the years of the Plan. It also targets increasing investment rate to 27% of the GDP during the years of the plan and working to raise the efficiency of investment, increasing more direct foreign investment in oil and non-oil sectors to 10% of the GDP by the end of the Plan, increasing the contribution of the private sector in investment by the end of the Plan and augmenting the contribution of the private sector in investment to 60% in average, in addition to achieving true growth rate in the growth of non-oil activities by an average of 3.2%.
The employment of national manpower figures among the most formidable socio-economic challenges, said the Ministry in its statement, noting that, despite the fact that performance rates of the national economy do provide enough employment opportunities, the labour market could not cope with the steadily increasing number of job seekers.
To address this challenge and to regulate labour market discrepancies, the 10th Five Year Development Plan endorses policies that contribute to modifying the structure of employment (which now relies on a wide base of non-skilled manpower) and introducing a new structure based on a wide base of skilled manpower through recruitment of skilled labour and offering it incentives. The plan is also to encourage new investments based on knowledge-economy, developing the education system and increasing the participation of women in the labour market.
At the conclusion of its statement, the Ministry of Economy explained that the achievement of goals, plans and programmes of the Plan is closely associated with the cooperation and collaboration of all government and private establishments, civil society institutions, the media and individuals. The Ministry of Economy will conduct regular assessment of the 10th Five Year Development Plan, prepare periodic reports and submit them to the departments concerned. The assessment will apply smart performance indicators, follow up programmes and evaluate their effects over the five years of the Plan within the framework of a regulated institutional system entrusted to the Vision’s Follow-up Union. An electronic platform established for this purpose will unify the performance indicators in cooperation with the departments concerned.