The Business Year

Abdulsalam Al Murshidi

OMAN - Economy

Abdulsalam Al Murshidi

President, Oman Investment Authority (OIA)

Bio

In addition to being President of OIA, Abdulsalam Al Murshidi is a board member of the Gulf Investment Corporation and represents the Sultanate on the board of governors of the Asian Investment Infrastructure Bank (AIIB). He previously held other positions and founded various industrial, commercial, and investment companies in the region. Al Murshidi graduated with distinction from the University of Aberdeen in the UK with a master’s of science in petroleum geology. He also holds a bachelor of science degree in geophysics from the University of Arizona in the US.

Working in line with Vision 2040, OIA's primary interest concerns advancing the country's economic diversification efforts.

What programs and measures have you implemented to establish a unified governance system for state-owned enterprises (SOEs)?

OIA’s establishment under Royal Decree 61/2020 signified a clear vision to unify SOEs. In its first year, OIA successfully implemented several programs and measures to set a clear-cut form of governance. The programs serve as a springboard for SOEs’ operational and financial performance. OIA firstly worked on producing a general overview of these companies under a unified system, the Rawabet program, which considers each company’s sectoral diversity, geographical footprint, and the nature of the products and services they provide. Additionally, as part of OIA’s commitment to corporate governance values and active community engagement, OIA restructured several companies under its supervision and formed new boards of directors by appointing Omani nationals with high expertise and experiences from the public and private sectors as part of its Thiqat program.

What is the role of the Rawabet program in strengthening the link between companies?

Rawabet provides a common ground for the policies and systems of SOEs that align with OIA’s overall strategic guidelines. The program also serves as a direct link between OIA and the companies under its wing to streamline, unify, and align their policies and systems to Vision 2040 and its related national priorities. The program is much more than a system of governance; it will enhance productivity and cooperation between companies and increase their efficiency and ability to share the resources available to them while considering their individual goals. The program aims to develop nine sets of policies and guidelines over three phases. Phase I featured policies and procedures concerning information security, legal affairs, business sustainability management, internal audit, media and communications, and risk management. Phases II and three delivered policies and guidelines in connection with the treasury, investment, evaluation of assets, accounting principles, shareholders exit, in-country value (ICV), support for SMEs, and CSR. Since its launch, Rawabet has led to over 400 interactions between OIA and its companies.

What is OIA’s role in leading and directing investments in Oman?

OIA places great focus on sectors of economic diversification with extensive medium to long-term potential for the economy. Several sectors targeted in Vision 2040, such as manufacturing, tourism, mining, logistics, and fishing, are already within the portfolio of OIA. When it comes to directing investment in Oman, OIA applies the following measures: identification and maturation of new opportunities in line with the target sectors outlined in Vision 2040; promote opportunities to investors directly through OIA or its companies; privatization of current investments to enable further contribution from the private sector in the national economy; work closely with policymakers and regulators to identify and resolve any hindrances that discourage investment in different sectors; strengthen the local capital market to diversify and develop investment instruments; boost innovations and R&D initiatives through investments or R&D programs and in cooperation with the relevant parties; and work closely with OIA companies to develop new strategies that can be a catalyst for investments in their respective sectors.

How do you envision the further development of OIA in the next five years?

Over the next five years, OIA’s primary interest concerns advancing the country’s economic diversification efforts as stipulated in Vision 2040. OIA will continue to allocate resources to targeted sectors while focusing on cooperating and empowering the private sector and making sure that SOEs do not compete with it. The government aims to assume a more regulatory role while the private sector takes on an active role in the economy. Therefore, private sector participation and foreign investment will play a significant role in this process in the coming years. In this regard, we hope this will materialize through the Muscat Stock Exchange, as it represents a tool for transferring the leadership of the economy from SOEs to the private sector. Additionally, OIA will continue to create a business environment within the Sultanate that would attract investors while building and managing an investment portfolio centered on a diversified pool of investment tools and assets to ensure sustainable long-term returns.

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