By Conrad Prabhu - MUSCAT — The US-based global economic consulting firm Nathan Associates Inc has been awarded a contract by the Omani government to design a ‘Financial Simulation Model’ for the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) at Duqm.
Nathan Associates, which has operations in nearly 140 countries around the world, has been tasked with formulating a financial model that simulates the financial prospects of the Duqm SEZ Authority during its first ten years of operations.
The model will help the Duqm Authority grasp and evaluate the implications of fiscal policies for zone cash flows in the medium and long term, the consulting firm said in a statement.
Nathan Associates has served a wide range of clients in the public and private sectors throughout the United States, Africa and the Middle East, Asia, South America, Latin America, the Caribbean and Europe. These clients include manufacturers, law firms, associations of manufacturers, exporters, importers and service providers, aid and development agencies, civil society organisations, US federal agencies, foreign governments and multilateral lending agencies, such as the World Bank.
The Omani government has so far invested around RO 1.7 billion in the development of infrastructure at Duqm, the bulk of which has been ploughed into the construction of a world-scale port and dry dock complex. Substantial amounts have also been earmarked for the construction of an airport, hotels and resorts, roads, utilities and other amenities necessary to underpin this region’s growth into an industrial and maritime hub.
Significantly, the contract awarded to Nathan Associates is one of a raft of similar consultancy studies being undertaken by a clutch of local and international firms on behalf of the Duqm SEZ Authority and the government.
Last October, the US-based international architectural firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), in partnership with Ghafari Associates, was selected to master-plan the development of a new city at Duqm to complement the region’s industrial and maritime development.
Duqm City itself, which will serve as the nerve centre of this ambitious development, is proposed to be built to international standards complete with all the trappings of a modern urban setting. Conceived and designed on an innovative and sustainable socio-industrial model, the City of Duqm will cater to a population size of around 100,000 people by the year 2025. Singapore based firm Jurong International has completed work on a master-plan study of the Free Zone and Industrial Park planned alongside the port and dry dock complex.
Allocated within the Free Zone and Industrial Park are special sub-zones for port related industries (373 hectares), fishery activities (1430 ha), and other industrial and economic activities. Fish exports alone are projected at 40,000 tonnes per annum, while minerals processing has the potential to generate an estimated 4 million tonnes per year in dry bulk export cargo by 2025. Also prospective is the export of aggregate, limestone for the steel industry, limestone fillers, silica sand and quartzite.