EghtesadOnline: The director of the National Development Fund of Iran pledged the sovereign wealth fund’s support for companies exporting goods and technical and engineering services to Oman in a joint meeting with the head of the Iran-Oman Chamber of Commerce.
In the meeting, Mohsen Zarrabi, the joint chamber’s head, referred to efforts that have already been undertaken by the chamber in line with providing the infrastructure for doing business and investing in Oman, conducting re-exports through the Arab nation, and measures regarding issuing visas, shipping lanes, banking relations and registration of firms.
“Infrastructure required to boost economic ties between the two nations are now in place and we must value our situation with Oman in order to increase our exports to the world,” he added, according to the official news portal of the Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture.
Lack of liquidity was referred to by the official as the main problem facing Iranian investors in Oman and he called on the national development fund to assist in this regard.
For his part, NDFI director Ahmad Doust-Hosseini pointed to the Persian Gulf Arab sultanate as trusted ally with close political ties to Iran that also presents a significantly low risk for businessmen vying for economic ties on its soil.
He vowed that the sovereign wealth fund adamantly supports Iranian traders and businesspeople active in that country based on its statute and said facilities offered by the fund “include companies that export goods or technical and engineering services to Oman”.
NDFI is ready to provide loans through agent banks equal to 100% of the value of exports of goods or technical and engineering services to Oman based on international standards, the director said.
“Furthermore, traders re-exporting goods who find themselves in need of investments in Oman will be able to employ the resources of the development fund should they use Iranian goods and technical/ engineering services,” Doust-Hosseini added.
Zarrabi pointed to contractors who wish to engage in EPCF (engineering, procurement, construction and financing) contracts where the contractor is also responsible for financing the project.
Doust-Hosseini said based on the statute of the fund, if the Omani side issues agreeable guarantees to agent Iranian banks, Iranian companies and contractors will be able to tap into NDFI assets.
The head of the joint Iran-Oman Chamber also pointed out that interest rates on NDFI loans may be suitable for use in a number of countries whose risk ratings are high, but they are too steep for Oman which hosts businesspeople of other nations with lower rates.
“This undermines the chance of competing from Iranian businessmen,” Zarrab said, to which Doust-Hosseini replied that the NDFI has made proposals to its board of trustees based on which interest rates on its lending will be cut and repayment periods will be extended.
“If the proposals are approved, it would mean that the loan rates of the fund will also be suitable for business in Oman,” the director promised.
In late August, the Iran-Oman Chamber of Commerce signed a memorandum of understanding with the Export Guarantee Fund of Iran to help boost cooperation between traders of two countries.
Increasing Iran’s export of technical and engineering services and expansion of its non-oil exports to the Arab neighbor were the other goals of the MoU.
At the signing ceremony of the MoU, Zarrabi had said Iran’s exports to Oman would increase from last year’s $580 million with the involvement of the export guarantee fund.