TIME FOR IMPLEMENTATION

Oman 2017 | ECONOMY | FOCUS: TANFEEDH PROGRAM

Following the Malaysian example, Omani public and private leaders are working together to discuss the future path of the country, boosting the private sector's role and enhancing economic diversification.

The oil price decline of 2014 caused serious damage in the Sultanate's budget, with oil revenues then dropping 41% in 2016 over 2015. In order to tackle the incipient deficit, the country had to react quickly. While Oman plans to borrow USD10 billion from international markets over the next four years, the Gulf nation had to convey to investors that drastic changes were to be applied to make economic diversification a reality.

In 2008, Malaysia was at a similar crossroads, badly affected by the global financial crisis, which caused out-of-control governmental overspending. Policymakers came out with a solution to reform the country and make it more efficient; a body was set up called the Performance Enhancement and Delivery Unit (Pemandu), giving a voice to the private sector in the enactment of new legislation and making officials more accountable.
In its own kind of transformation, Oman created Tanfeedh, the National Program for Enhancing Economic Diversification. The idea was to bring all stakeholders together to solve pressing issues and establish KPIs for the government. This group of around 300 people is made up of representatives from the public and the private sector (foreign and local), but also experts and academics, who met for six weeks to identify challenges, discuss solutions, and outline a detailed roadmap for implementation.

In essence, Tanfeedh's mandate is to implement the Sultanate's ninth Five-Year Development Plan (2016-2020), therefore it focuses on five sectors with which it sees its best potential; manufacturing, transport and logistics, tourism, fisheries, and mining. In addition, two others labs look at the sectors that play the role of enablers, like finance and the labor market.