As part of a strategy to diversify the economy away from the oil and gas sector, efforts are continuing apace within the industrial sector. In particular, the government is working to expand steel production, as regional demand is expected to increase in line with large-scale projects underway in the GCC region. The aluminium industry, for example, is showing signs of good growth, with new rolling plants expected to become operational by the end of 2013. In retail, a number of factors continue to shape the market. While competition has increased as more companies have set up retail outlets, salaries have also grown, boosting consumer spending as a consequence. In spite of some labour difficulties and increased competition, the retail sector presents a variety of investment opportunities – not only in the larger, more traditional segments, but also in a number of niche markets.
This chapter includes an interview with Khalil Abdullah Al Khonji, Chairman of the Oman Chamber of Commerce & Industry (OCCI).