30 December 2007

Call to boost small scale sector

MUSCAT — The 2007 His Majesty the Sultan’s Cup awards for the best five factories were given away yesterday with an underlying note to boost the small-scale industrial sector.

Dr Rajiha bint Abdulamir bin Ali, minister of tourism, gave away the HM’s Cup to three factories with investment of over RO3 million and two factories with investment of less than RO2 million at a grand function held at Shangri-La’s Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa.

The five HM’s Cup winners are Gulf Stone Company; Oman Chlorine; Oman Fiber Optic Co; Future Pipe Industries; and United Date Factory.

The shield of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry was awarded to Areej Vegetables Oils and Derivatives; Majan Glass Company; Al Intaj Sulphochemical Industries Co; Al Waqia Shoes; and Windows 2000.

The certificates for best achievement were given to Ali & Abdul Karim Trading Company; Sharq Sohar Steel Rolling Mills; and Al Anwar Ceramic Tiles Company.

A total of 34 participants had entered the competition for the prestigious His Majesty the Sultan’s Cup which is one of the initiatives taken by the government to encourage the industrial sector to improve the quality and quantity of their productions, providing job opportunities for job seekers and providing the required training for Omani human resources.

This year the competition was divided into two categories. The first included companies whose investment exceeded RO3 million and the second category included companies whose investment was less than RO3 million.

Maqbool bin Ali Sultan, minister of commerce and industry, and Khalil bin Abdullah Al Khonji, chairman of Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry spoke on the occasion of the prize-giving ceremony.

Two documentaries on the developments witnessed by the Omani industry and highlights on the distinguished 10 factories will be displayed. An exhibition of Omani companies and factories that have participated in this year’s competition was also organised.

The awards instituted in 1991 are given away to factories which meet the criteria set up by the technical committee of the competition and give the small, medium and large size enterprises an equal opportunity to participate.

The criteria include Omanisation, marketing, replacing imported items with local products, the size of sales at the local market, the financial performance, the value addition, the use of local materials, integration with other industries, production efficiency, the quality standards and HSE requirement.

Maqbool bin Ali Sultan, minister of commerce and industry expressed his satisfaction that all the companies did very well. “The industry as a whole this year has done well and we encourage them to do better and they have, in fact, shown a lot of interest. The private sector is playing a big part now in the industrialisation of the country and the privatisation of the industries has also helped,” noted Maqbool.

The minister said more changes will be made in the competition to make it better in the future. “We have also encouraged for the first time the smaller companies and industries by dividing the awards between the large and small companies keeping a benchmark of RO3 million,” Maqbool informed the Times of Oman.

Khalil bin Abdullah Al Khonji, chairman of Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry, in his comments said that as private sector, they have asked for more awards.

“Next year we hope to see the new industries, especially the small and medium industries being encouraged and getting the awards,” Khonji stated. In his speech at the ceremony, Khonji emphasised on formation of labour representative unions which helps in speedy redressal of disputes between employees and the management. “There are many companies which have helped their employees to create a labour union but some are still hesitant. The companies need not be afraid as it will help in negotiations,” Khonji added.

Khonji also said that even as industries are flourishing, care should be taken about pollution matters. “The industry should take maximum protection because we are building the tourism sector in a big way and we should be careful in selecting the right industries to prevent pollution and environmental damage,” pointed out Khonji.
-(Times of Oman)

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Lebanon Time-Line

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