OMAN - Economy
CEO, Oman Chamber of Commerce & Industry
Dr. Al Fadhal Abbas Al Hinai has 20 years’ experience in the public and private sectors. Prior to his current position, he was the CEO of Awasr Telecom. He currently sits as a member on the board of Oman Aviation Group and Oman Tower Company.
Today, chambers in most countries try to act more like a think tank for the government and the private sector, as a trusted consulting party. Why? Because being closer to the private sector we sense the issues, challenges, and problems, and seek to communicate this well with the government and decision-makers. We understand the thinking of the government, and therefore we are more capable to negotiate new policies and regulations with the authorities on behalf of the private sector. The second role is the representation of the private sector locally, regionally, and globally. The chamber is a member of many international entities such as the International Chamber, Arab Chambers, ILO, and many others. The third role is an executive one whereby we issue documentation, for example a certificate of origin. We also conduct numerous training programs, workshops, and focus groups with the private sector, whether to negotiate policies or enhance specific skills across the private sector. We also send delegations in and beyond the country in order to promote investments, as a channel for our registered companies to have a global reach.
The chamber is a home for different categories of the business community, for example buyers and sellers, traders and manufacturers, etc. So, the biggest challenge is always to craft a constructed opinion among the stakeholders who are related to the topic. For example, when we look at our roles related to investments, it is important to work jointly with the government to identify local opportunities in Oman. These opportunities could be in manufacturing, tourism, agriculture, food security, or logistics. We work with experts to address the competitive advantage of the regions that could potentially create business investment opportunities to promote for local as well as foreign investors. This might require the revisiting of current policies and their relations in order to understand how they could potentially attract investments. We also listen to feedback from foreign and local investors and their views, issues, or challenges, and communicate those messages to the authorities. All of these discussions need a lot of facilitation and negotiations with the stakeholders involved.
I came to the Chamber in October 2019. I focused on automating and digitalizing our business environment and offering different digital tools for employees. The project started in May 2021, and within this, we are going to give all our employees digital tools to carry or their work remotely. This may move them to a mobile format rather than being physically present at the office. Therefore, mobility is the number-one concept of the digitalization project. Second, we are shifting to low-paper offices, and will hopefully be fully paper-free by 2025. Why in 2025? Because of the culture, not because we are not ready in terms of technology. We are going to implement a proper ERP system for all our internal operations, which means all our processes will be digitally treated. Third, we will digitalize all the services that we offer to our members. The three key services are membership and its renewal, the certificate of origin, and the attestation. All these services will be integrated with the other services offered by other public and private entities.
As a Chamber, we are a consulting party; hence, our short-term goal is to devise a proper study to show the government and the private sector that we are a trusted partner for both. Second, the Chamber has many channels locally, regionally, and globally that we should use in order to promote investments, exchange experts, learn from others, and also help others to learn from us. There are some inspirations, and the Chamber could be a beacon as a learning platform at an institutional and individual level.