PM hopes better investments from Oman after MoU on Investment Fund

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Muscat, Nov 9 (UNI) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said the MoU to establish the India-Oman Joint Investment Fund is the first step towards facilitating investments in infrastructure, tourism, health, telecom, urban infrastructure and other sectors.

Exuding confidence in regard to the MoU signed yesterday during his visit to the Sultanate of Oman, Dr Singh called upon the captains of Oman's industry and financial companies to invest surplus liquidity into key infrastructure sectors in India.

''We are determined to create a hospitable climate for investment, particularly foreign investment from friendly countries like Oman,''he told a meeting with business community today.

To instil confidence in the investors , Dr Singh said, the Indian banks are functioning in each other's country. Several large Indian companies are already located in Oman or are working in partnership with local companies in sectors like oil and gas, mining, IT and telecommunications, power, water and construction.

''India has the institutional mechanisms to promote our trade and economic cooperation. We have in place a bilateral investment promotion and protectional agreement and a double taxation avoidance agreement,'' Dr Singh said.

''The Indian economy has witnessed rapid and sustained growth, averaging 9 per cent over the last four years. Bur due to the current international economic and financial situation, our growth rate may come down somewhat next year. However, we still hope to achieve a growth rate of seven to seven and a half per cent by next year.'' He told the businessmen that India's infrastructure financing needs are estimated to be 500 billion dollars in the next five years adding that India offers a large and growing market.

''Our total non-oil trade, which was less than 200 million dollars in 2000 has gone up seven fold to around 1.4 billion dollars this year and is expected to cross two billion dollars.'' Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chairman Khalil Abdullah Al Khonji, Executive President of Omani Centre for Investment Promotion Export Development Salim Nasser Al Ismaily , WJ Towell Group Chairman Hussain Jawad Sultan, EMKE Group Chairman M A Yusuf Ali and Galfar Engineering Company Managing Director P Mohammad Ali were among the 50 leading businessmen who attended the meeting.

UNI PMD ARB AS1520

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