Oman’s exports grow despite low oil prices

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here are risks associated with the decline in oil prices but this has not much hindered exports from Oman and export credit schemes, said the acting general manager of the Export Credit Guarantee Agency of Oman (ECGA).

The statistics for the first six months of this year shows that although the oil prices have gone down, Oman’s national exports have gone up, Imad Soud Al Harthy told reporters on the sidelines of the 6th Annual Meeting of Aman Union in Muscat on Tuesday.

Aman Union, is a professional forum assembling commercial and non-commercial risks insurers and reinsurers in member countries of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference and of the Arab Investment and Export Credit Guarantee Corporation ‘Dhaman’.

The event was held under the auspice of Said bin Saleh Al Kiyumi, chairman of the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OCCI) and chairman of the board of the ECGA.

Al Harthy noted, “ECGA’s coverage on risks outside Oman, basically the exports of Oman, has also increased during the first six months and nine months of 2015.”

“There are risks associated with the drop in oil prices. However, this has not much hindered exports from Oman. It probably affected the overall prices but not the overall exports,” he added.

View of risks

Asked if the risks have increased as a result of the drop in oil prices, the official said, “What has changed here is the way the other countries in the world view the risks on this country. They automatically link it to the oil prices so they will assess the risks to be higher in this area.”

However, Arab and Islamic countries are supporting inter-trade between themselves as well as the exports of their national goods to the rest of the world, he added.

Al Harthy said that one of the objectives of the conference is to highlight the position of Arab and Islamic countries, including Oman, in light of the current geopolitical situation.

“There is no change in the policies for exports. The risks for Oman are stable. Oman is a very stable country,” he noted.

Permanent secretariat

In addition, the acting general of ECGA said that it will be made clear on Wednesday whether Oman will be confirmed to host the permanent secretariat of Aman Union.

Oman has contended for the position and if it is awarded to Oman, the operation of the secretariat is expected to begin in Muscat in January 2016 under the umbrella of ECGA, Al Harthy said, adding that it would give a boost to both the Sultanate and ECGA.

In his address to the conference, he said, “We stress our relentless pursuit to enhance and develop the union in order to ensure the achievement of the desired goals.”

Participants

Speaking to reporters, Fahad R. H. Al Ibrahim, secretary general of Aman Union, said that 18 export credit agencies representing Arab and Islamic countries as well as 15 observers from all over the world are participating at the event.

Asked if the fall in oil prices has increased the risks, the official noted that it affects commercial and non-commercial risks.

In his speech to the conference, Al Ibrahim said that the union has been seeking to keep up with global developments and its database and website aim to enhance collaboration between the members as well as user experience.

Way forward

In a presentation, Hatem Al Shanfari, member of board of governors of Central Bank of Oman, discussed the impact of the slump in oil prices on Oman and other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.

He said that Oman’s success in the past has been based on good leadership and governance as well as natural and inherited wealth.

For the future, good leadership and governance as well as education and training is necessary, Al Shanfari said, adding that the country needs to be more flexible and adaptive to changes, reduce bureaucracy, enhance productivity and pay attention tosmart investment.

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