National Day Special

National Day Special

Omani and expat business personalities share their views on what can people and industry do for the development of the country


Continue the march towards successful development of Oman

Mohammed Redha Jawad, CEO, Taageer Finance 

As a responsible business leader, it shall be my endeavor to function in a manner which would give a “go-to-organisation” feeling to prospective clientele.

Some of the key factors I feel a business leader can contribute are

1. Economic perspective: Looking at business through an economic perspective can provide a better picture of the relationship between society and the markets. Microeconomics, illustrates how the decisions of individuals can affect trends in business. I believe that being able to see the ‘forest through the trees’ without losing site of individual parts of the business landscape is an important leadership skill to have.

2. Improved decision making through better economic understanding: With a more holistic view of the relationships between individuals, markets and the larger economy, leaders can make more informed decisions and guide their organisations to higher profits.

3. Socially responsible leadership includes economic responsibility: As the global business environment continues to evolve, customers across the world are becoming more active in demanding strong bottom line performance ratings from the companies in which they choose to invest. Understanding the role of big business in economies across the world can give small and medium-sized leaders insight into how they should invest their own profits. Understanding the balance between micro and macro-economic forces at play can help businesses gauge their own involvements and can help guide responsible and ethical investing.

4. Improved leadership skills for current complex business structure. Today’s business leaders need a more advanced repertoire of skills and knowledge than previous generations in order to keep up with the rapidly evolving nuances of a complex global marketplace. Completing economics courses can help business professionals become more effective business leaders in current markets.  

As an Omani citizen, I am proud to have supported and contributed towards the development of banking and the non-banking finance sectors over the past 35 years with integrity and success and guided, developed Omani colleagues to take higher job positions in these sectors. I advise all Omani employees to continue in their march towards successful development of the country and its economy through hard work, dedication and self-discipline with patience under the wise leadership of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said.

I shall continue to participate in the economy development of my country with highest professional acumen.


Nurturing local talent and supporting SMEs are critical objectives

Eng Ali Issa Shamas, CEO, Dhofar Power Company, Member of Nama Group

As CEO of Dhofar Power Company (DPC), I am honoured to be in the privileged position that allows me to enact positive change among the community. I do my utmost to make a difference in the lives of those around me; my employees, customers, and the future generation. 

The wellbeing of employees is crucial, and at DPC we ensure that our employees have an empowering and engaging work environment where they have a voice and feel valued in the organisation. Safety is also of the utmost importance, and it one of my key priorities to spread a culture of HSE excellence within the organisation and our consumer base. We at Nama Group coordinate our HSE activities together based on four pillars – connections, working at heights, driving and lifting and through these pillars. I have the opportunity to further strengthen HSE excellence within DPC.

Empowering our next generation is also a key focus of mine. Within Nama Group we have several programmes such as Waiyakom, for youth and students that encourage and support participants to develop innovative initiatives in the energy sector. At Nama group we also support research and development programmes to bolster renewable energy and innovations and are working with different institutions to do so.

Nurturing local talent and supporting SMEs are also critical objectives for me as these will help to ensure the long-term success of our nation. We have various ICV (In-Country Value) initiatives and SME programs in place that enable local contractors and businesses to have the opportunity to flourish within the sector. 

Under the gracious guidance of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said, we have seen remarkable changes that have ensured that our people and nation prosper on the world stage. We all have a responsibility to follow his wise example and to contribute what we can to our country. As DPC, we have a major role to play as electricity is a critical part of any development.


As an Omani enterprise we strive to bring more to our country

Hani Ali Mirza, Founder and managing director, Bin Mirza International

Under the reign of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said, the Sultanate has enjoyed 47 years of progress. As a result, we have been given the opportunity to thrive as a nation both economically and socially and when I saw these opportunities I seized them. As a business established to bring new dining concepts to Oman, I believe our efforts to transform culinary experiences have – and continue – to enrich the lives of citizens and residents.

We have done this by creating jobs, opening spaces where families and friends can come together, as well as offering some of the world’s most popular brands a gateway to our nation. This is what we have achieved with each and every one of our outlets by going beyond franchising and embedding the evolving needs of the communities we serve into our DNA.

Every day, new experiences are made in the comfort of our outlets that guests will cherish for a lifetime. With that said, we will continue to grow and bring more exciting dining experiences to remain committed as an Omani enterprise to keep striving for more and bringing more to Oman for both our customers and for our employees.


We will ceaselessly strive towards innovation, change and progress

Sasi Kumar, Acting CEO, Bank Sohar

Bank Sohar began operations with a very clear set of goals – to bring innovation and banking excellence into the banking sector, reprise the role of SMEs in the economy, provide alacrity in finance and develop strategies to ensure sustainability. Within the short span of ten years since its inception, the bank has made remarkable strides towards these goals, giving Oman, the economy and its people resilient financial infrastructure that fuels growth in accordance with the government’s objectives.

The bank firmly supports the national mandate for economic diversification as the road to economic sustainability and growth, mobilising its resources to unlock inherent potential within the local economy. Much emphasis has been laid on Oman’s SMEs segment in line with the government’s national capital development mandate to optimise the sector for employment generation. Bank Sohar’s dedicated SME unit provides effective turnover time and credit reviews across a comprehensive asset portfolio and product range.

The bank’s business fronts of retail, corporate, large corporate banking and trade finance have been major drivers for sector wide growth through a strategic deployment of astute financial solutions, market leading products, reliability and resource development strategies. Within a relatively short span, Bank Sohar has earned the distinction of being the most specialised Banks sought out for its cutting-edge financial solutions to very large corporates in apex industries such as mining, construction, education and hospitality.

Meanwhile we have also expanded our retail operations offering innovative financial solutions that re-energise growth in the sector. With superior products like the popular Al Mumayaz Savings Scheme, versatile credit card offerings, unbeatable financing solutions and more, we have been effective in achieving synergies within Oman’s banking sector.

On the digital front, the bank has been committed to evolving the industry beyond conventional banking by leveraging technology in customer service and product development. It has been instrumental in leading the sector’s transition to digitisation with the introduction of its one-minute banking app, and, most recently, its implementation of the CBO’s MpClear system for remittances. 

Bank Sohar’s contribution towards the country’s progress transcends its myriad business milestones to include substantial focus on community development. Over the years it has led a number of initiatives under its CSR wing, Sohar Al Atta, to bring about change and enhance opportunities for Oman’s underserved societies. It has been a pioneer for the cause of road safety within the industry, its ubiquitous RakizWaSouq road safety campaign conducting nationwide advocacy to keep Oman’s roads safe. Additionally, carefully planned donations to charity organisations help fulfill numerous development and environmental objectives.

Going forward, Bank Sohar will continue to maintain focus on its customers and larger economic goals, while striving ceaselessly towards innovation, change and progress.


Treat Oman as our motherland and should contribute to its growth

O G Ravishankar, GM and CFO, Takaful Oman

Oman is a second home for many like myself. I have been here for about ten years, but there are people here who have worked and lived here for longer than I have. There are a number of residents who have worked, lived and raised their family in this beautiful country. As a resident in my opinion it is very important that we follow the local rules and regulations of the land. There is also a social responsibility towards the society where you live. It is very important for me to offer help to Omanis when and wherever I can. Oman has been a very peaceful country and I think as residents we should make sure that it remains so. I am also proud to be part of a company which focus on employing and developing Omanis. 

In my opinion we should treat Oman as our motherland and should contribute to its development. Each of us should take the social responsibility to train and upskill the community around us. Contribute to the local charity and participate in the welfare initiatives of the government. We as residents should thank the government for their prudent policies. We should support the local Omani companies and do more to ensure that we invest in the local community and actively participate in them.

We at Takaful Oman Insurance focus on recruitment and development of local talent. We focus on training and development of Omanis. We have an average Omanisation ratio  of over 80 per cent compared to the industry requirement of 65 per cent. I wish to congratulate the nationals and all residents on the occasion of the National Day and wish Oman the very best.


A business leader plays a critical role in the making of future leaders

Aftab Patel, CEO, Al Omaniya Financial Services

Oman is a vast and vibrant country, with rich cultural and human values. Contributing to the development of Oman is a matter of pride and honour, as my DNA is Omani. Significant contribution to the society and the youth of the country is delivered by human resource development planning and providing financial solutions to the entire spectrum of large corporations, SMEs, entrepreneurs and individual clients.

We have been fortunate to engage with a large and varied diaspora of the Omani population both at the personal and institutional level. We have touched people’s lives in a very positive and productive manner, enriching each other in the process, created wealth and value for every stakeholder from customers, employees, shareholders and broad economic ecosystem creating a win-win situation.

In the ecosystem of a developing nation, empowerment of the youth through education, skill nurturing, and honing entrepreneurship spirit is the key. Shaping the career development of employees and empowerment are the key areas in which a business leader plays a critical role; this in turn leads to making of future leaders and furthers nation building. We as business leaders act as mentors to the employees guiding them and counseling in personal and professional growth goals and as the CEO of Oman’s largest non banking financial institution, it has been my proud privilege to have played that role.

We pray to the almighty to grant good health and long life to His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said. He is a role model to all citizens and residents. He has provided an outstanding and extraordinary leadership to this nation and shown us the path to attain development and growth of this mighty nation. The minimum we can do is to follow on the path that he has carved out. I offer my felicitations to His Majesty the Sultan Qaboos and the people of Oman on this momentous 47th National Day.


Building a platform that will bridge academia and industry

Tariq Hilal Al Barwani, Founder, Knowledge Oman 

Continuing to benefit and enrich the society by creating and enabling initiatives that impact the country in a positive and profound way – yet at a larger scale, is what I would do for my country. As the founder and chairman of the largest community knowledge-sharing platform (Knowledge Oman), my role has been to seek like-minded talents from the society whom are passionate to work and find creative ways to benefit the youth who would be at the driver seat tomorrow for developing the economy in our country, Oman.

Job seekers in the age group of 24 and 35 reached approximately 42,000 last month, where about 18,000 are university graduates according to National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI). The need to provide a platform that supports the youth in getting the necessary knowledge and skillset to run a business as an entrepreneur and/or join an organisation with a practical skill to benefit the business is paramount. Unfortunately today, owners of business either don’t have the necessary knowledge or skills to run a business effectively, or even graduates don’t have the necessary skills to join the work-force, being fresher and academic attuned but not practically ready. At Knowledge Oman, one of the main agenda is to bridge the gap between the academia and the various industries by ensuring the two entities connect, talk, exchange knowledge and benefit each other to enrich the economy, by creating winning leaders for the next generation.

Since 2008, we have engaged with a number of local and regional partners to launch knowledge-based initiatives that specifically impact the youth by providing critical knowledge of interest. Going forward, our plan is to focus on initiatives that would result in creating winning entrepreneurs (youth that wish to run a business) and valuable work-force (youth that are ready to join and work for a business). Furthermore, create an edutainment (educational so as entertaining) platform that delivers education, yet in a fun way.


Create value in the present and build opportunities for future generations

Osama Maryam, CEO, Al Hosn Investment Company

Al Hosn Investment Company (HIC), a closed stock investment company that is a partnership between Qatar Holding and Oman Investment Fund, focuses on investments in the Sultanate of Oman and in other GCC countries.

As a business leader I believe I am in an optimal position to create value in the present while building opportunities for future generations of Oman through strategic investments in food security, hospitality, healthcare, education, aquaculture, industrial and manufacturing sectors as well as the telecoms, media and technology sectors.

One of the most recent investments by HIC is the Oman Aviation Academy which is the first of its kind in the GCC region with a cohort intake class that may absorb up to 115 students, servicing the Royal Oman Air Force, Oman Air as well as private nationals from the sultanate and the GCC adding a previously inaccessible educational option to the region as well as supplying the aviation sector with highly qualified candidates. Through this investment, we are confident that it will attract other companies to invest in the sector and enhance the quality of education and work.

Another key sector for HIC is food security underscored by its strategic investment in Mazoon Dairy Company which, upon completion, will be the largest dairy producer in the sultanate. Furthermore, HIC is currently promoting an aquaculture project located in Sur which will be harvesting the (barramundi) species of fish using the RAS System (recirculating aquaculture systems) which allows the harvesting system to have more control over the quality of the water and helps to produce healthier fish in a good welfare environment.

Over the course of my career I spent around five years in Oman in various industries and I strongly believe in the potential of the Omani economy and workforce and through

my work at HIC I believe that strategic investments will continue to serve and empower the nation, diversify the economy and assist in achieving Oman’s goal in investing in new and different sectors.


Invest in people and infrastructure to boost tourism in Oman

Riyaz Kuttery, COO, Mezoon Travel 

I’ve been living in the Gulf region since 1994 and in Oman since early 2005. I must admit that Oman is one of the most beautiful and safest countries in the world and we thoroughly enjoy our stay in this country. It is great to witness the country’s growth especially in the recent past years, which is exceptional! 

Tourism in Oman has grown considerably well in the recent years, and it is expected to be one of the largest industries in the country. Oman is one of the fastest growing tourism destinations in the Middle East and it has the most diverse environments with various tourist attractions. The strength of the country lies in its nature, culture and heritage, warm and friendly people – the young and energetic youth.

I’m honoured to be the part of travel and tourism Industry. I’ve served airlines like British Airways and Jet Airways before taking up my current role in Mezoon International Travel & Tours which is a group company of Omzest (Omar Zawawi Establishment Group). 

I am glad to see that the government is taking a lot of initiatives in diversifying their economy from the traditional oil dependent economy. We can see the efforts that Ministry of Tourism in particular putting together to deliver those initiatives in our industry. 

The recent changes implemented on visa rules for many potential countries will attract increased number of tourists into the country. The government should continue opening up the market environment with all required flexibilities to entice more private investors in the coming years and that’s the way forward to strengthen this industry. 

We all know that Oman is rich in its natural beauty. In my view we need to invest in people & infrastructure Can only succeed in achieving as a prominent tourist destination in the world!

On the occasion of the 47th National Day I on behalf of Mezoon International Travel & Tours wish His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said good health and long life. I also wish our warm and friendly fellow Omanis all success for the future.


As expats, we all need to be ambassadors of Oman and promote its qualities

Mohamed Debouk, CEO, New Metrics

It’s  the professional and moral duty of every citizen or resident of Oman to contribute to the development of the sultanate in any way that they can. As an expatriate, it’s my ethical responsibility to add value to the country and apply my experience for the country’s benefit. Oman is a young country where knowledge transfer, innovation and sustainability are crucial.

Oman is one of the most hospitable countries where people are welcomed and feel they are at home. This culture of acceptance and understanding should be reflected in every company.

Leaders, expats or locals, should embrace differences and establish a culture where employees feel free to voice their opinions and are listened to. Diversity spurs innovation.

Companies also need to be sustainable, but that doesn’t only mean that they need to be profitable. Companies should support the local community and hire and develop young Omanis. Some young employees may stay, others may leave to find better opportunities or start their own businesses, but ultimately your role in their development will contribute to the economy and eventually the sustainability of your business. As a leader, I have a responsibility to make sure that the people who entrusted me with their children and siblings are getting my full support and mentorship. That will also drive a sustainable growth for Oman and the companies that operate in it.

As expats, we all need to be ambassadors of Oman and promote its qualities to our friends and relatives. This country is unique in so many ways and we are all very fortunate to be here.

National Day Special
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