Al Raffd Fund signs pact with San­dan to sup­port small units

As many as 20 SMEs will re­ceive soft loans with spe­cial terms, and the projects in­clude au­to­mo­bile show­rooms for used cars, work­shops and ware­houses.

Times of Oman - - MARKET - Times News Ser­vice

MUSCAT: A co­op­er­a­tion agree­ment was signed by the Al Raffd Fund and San­dan De­vel­op­ment Com­pany to pro­vide fi­nan­cial sup­port to 20 small and medium en­ter­prises, which are cre­at­ing their busi­nesses within the San­dan Light In­dus­tries Park.

The 20 SMEs will re­ceive soft loans with spe­cial terms and con- di­tions, and the projects in­clude au­to­mo­bile show­rooms for used cars, work­shops and ware­houses.

“The SME sec­tor plays an im­por­tant role in de­vel­op­ing var­i­ous sec­tors and cre­at­ing jobs for Omani youth,” said Tarek Al Farsi, chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of Al Raffd Fund. He added that the San­dan project is a first-of-its-kind in the Sul­tanate to sup­port de­vel­op­ment of small and medium en­ter­prises.

Both the San­dan and Al Raffd Fund have a com­mon vi­sion in sup­port­ing and en­cour­ag­ing small and medium en­ter­prises, said Eng. Saeed bin Nasser Al Rashdi, chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of San­dan De­vel­op­ment Com­pany.

Al Farsi noted that his fund would ex­tend fi­nan­cial sup­port to more planned busi­nesses at San­dan premises dur­ing the sec­ond phase of de­vel­op­ment.

“This con­firms that we are mov­ing in the right di­rec­tion, and this re­quires more ef­fort in the next phase, in close co­op­er­a­tion be­tween var­i­ous par­ties,” added Eng. Al Rashdi. “We recog­nise that small and medium en­ter­prises have an im­por­tant and strate­gic po­si­tion in the na­tional econ­omy.”

Small and medium en­ter­prises, which play an im­por­tant role in the de­vel­op­ment of the na­tion’s econ­omy, helps in achiev­ing eco­nomic di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion. Fur­ther, these projects pro­vide thou­sands of jobs for Oma­nis.

The SME sec­tor con­sti­tutes 90 per cent of all eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity and 60 per cent of the work­force across the world. The Al Raffd Fund aims at de­vel­op­ing en­trepreneur­ship among youths, strengthen di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion and cre­ate job op­por­tu­ni­ties for lo­cal youths.

The fund tar­gets those who as­pire to start their own busi­nesses, in­clud­ing job seek­ers, ru­ral women, ar­ti­sans and pro­fes­sion­als. The Al Raffd Fund pro­vides soft loans at an in­ter­est rate not ex­ceed­ing 2 per cent, along with of­fer­ing train­ing pro­grammes on ac­count­ing and ad­min­is­tra­tion.

The agree­ment was signed by Al Farsi from the Al Raffd Fund and Al Rashdi from San­dan De­velop- ment Com­pany, and the event was at­tended by sev­eral en­trepreneurs and jour­nal­ists.

Eng. Al Rashdi said that the light in­dus­tries park, which is a unique project in Oman that is be­ing built at Ma­bela, will be ready by the third quar­ter of 2018. The in­te­grated light in­dus­tries park houses pur­pose-built ve­hi­cle show­rooms, work­shops, of­fices, build­ing ma­te­rial out­lets and ac­com­mo­da­tions for work­ers, all on par with in­ter­na­tional stan­dards.

With three front line en­try and ten ex­its, the project is ideally lo­cated for cus­tomers com­ing from Muscat or Bati­nah, and en­sures the smooth flow of traf­fic.

San­dan Light In­dus­tries Park opens a win­dow of promis­ing in­vest­ments and de­vel­op­ment through the small and medium en­ter­prise sec­tor for dy­namic young en­trepreneurs to build a wide range of projects. The park has an area of 250,000 square me­ters and will ac­com­mo­date 2,400 ve­hi­cle show­rooms for used cars, work­shops and build­ing ma­te­rial show­rooms. It will also pro­vide 4,500 of­fices and 1,800 res­i­den­tial units. The au­to­mo­bile-re­lated busi­nesses in­clude used car show­rooms, spare parts units, garages, auto elec­tri­cians and tyre ven­dors.

– Is­mail Al Farsi/Times of Oman

SME SUP­PORT: The Al Raffd Fund aims at de­vel­op­ing en­trepreneur­ship among youths, strengthen eco­nomic di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion and cre­ate job op­por­tu­ni­ties for lo­cal youths.

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