Muscat: Nearly 5,000 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have been set up in Oman between January and November 2019, according to government data.

Data released by the National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI) shows that there were 42,163 SMEs registered in Oman as of the end of November 2019, an increase of 4,874 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) between the end of 2018, and November 2019. At the end of 2018, there were 37,289 SMEs registered in the country.

The maximum number of SMEs were registered in the Muscat governorate (14,109), followed by the North Batinah (6,644) and Dakhiliyah governorates (5,370). Al Batinah South (3,121) and the Dhofar region (3,545) also had more than 3,000 SMEs each, while the Sharqiyah North (2,895) and Sharqiyah South (2,426) governorates both featured upward of 2,000 SMEs, as did the Dhahirah Governorate with 2,539 SMEs.

A number of SMEs were also set up in the Buraimi (887), Wusta (463) and Musandam (164) governorates. In terms of percentage, the highest rise was recorded in the northern Musandam Governorate, which recorded an 18.8 per cent increase in the number of SMEs, the lowest in terms of per cent increase was in the Dakhiliyah Governorate, with a jump of only 10.1 per cent. Overall, there was a 14.5 per cent increase in the number of small and medium enterprises established in 2019 in Oman.

31 per cent of all SMEs in the country are in Muscat, North Batinah is home to 15 percent, Ad Dakhiliyah has another 12 per cent, and the Dhofar Governorate has 8 per cent of all SMEs. The remaining seven governorates host the other 34 per cent of SMEs in Oman.

Dr CK Anchan, Managing Director of World Wide Business House, a trade advisory body in Oman, said, “Oman is seeing surging growth in small urban manufacturing activities, from hand-made chocolate, jewellery and toiletries, and high-fashion abayas to precision engineering, where innovation in design is creating products that are capturing the Omani consumers’ attention.

“SMEs in these sectors are also leveraging opportunities around the circular Economy and green manufacturing where consumers prefer Oman-made products that use recycled materials and whose workers live locally and maintain a small carbon footprint,” he added. “To capitalise on the interest and growth of small urban manufacturing units, the government has introduced a range of programs to facilitate workspaces as well as provide finance and start-up mentoring through the National Business Centre, Riyada and the SME Development Fund.”

Of the total number of SMEs, at the end of November, 2,498 were registered as medium-scale enterprises, while the remaining 39,665 were classified as small enterprises. Between June and November 2019, around 300 SMEs were set up. There were 39,810 SMEs registered in Oman at the end of June 2019, and that number rose to 42,163 at the end of November 2019.

A statement from the NCSI said, “15 per cent was the cumulative increase in the total number of SMEs by the end of November 2019 as compared to November 2018. There was a one per cent increase in the total number of SMEs at the end of November 2019, compared to the previous month.”