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Oman to have SME fund

Omani leader also sets up college for traditional crafts

Gulf News

Muscat: Sultan Qaboos Bin Saeed has ordered setting up of a 70 million Omani riyals (Dh665.15 million) worth Al Rafd Fund to help Omani youth develop small and media enterprises (SMEs) across the country. The Sultan said that self-employment programme Sanad as well as the other schemes to help Omanis set up their enterprises will be combined under the new fund for the SMEs.

“The funds will be increased to seven million riyals each year,” Sultan Qaboos announced.

According to Oman News Agency (ONA), during his talks with the dignitaries he also referred to the outcomes of the SMEs Symposium, which was held at Saih Al Shamikhat, and said that for the first time, it came out with decisions and not recommendations, as it has been the case before.

“From now on, the symposiums will come out with decisions and not recommendations.”

“Among the important and pending decision which the symposium came up with is the industrial or commercial or agricultural lands that will be allocated for project owners or used by them,” he pointed out.

“I was pleased when I was watching TV at the end of the symposium when a youth said that the ball is now in our court,” the Omani leader enthused. He also pointed out that the youths felt that they have everything that may help and support them.

“More will be availed in the future if they proved their efficiency,” he assured.

Meanwhile, Sayyid Khalid Bin Hilal Al Bu Saidi, Minister of the Diwan of the Royal Court, informed that the Bahla-based Ajyal Craft College will offer 14 majors, including pottery and copper industries and manufacturing of tools which are used in occupations, such as blacksmith and minerals sector.

The sultan also announced setting up of ‘Ajyal College’ in Bahla town, about 190 km northwest of Muscat, with an aim to revive traditional craft.

“Bahla, which has this great history, is also the incubator for the traditional crafts and good heritage,” the Omani leader said during his meeting with the Shaikhs and dignitaries from the Central and Interior region on Sunday at the Royal camp at Saih Al Shamikhat in Bahla.

“The College will play a role in rehabilitating Omani males and females in the field of traditional crafts industries. I believe that the output will be 200 people in the initial stage, later expected to extend to 800 people in the next four years,” added Sultan Qaboos, who is on his Meet the People tour.