Oman plans $1.5bln 'medical city'

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Oman tourism, Oman government, Oman economy

Oman tourism, Oman government, Oman economy

Oman plans to build a 570 million rial ($1.48 billion) medical complex and will invite bids this year to manage construction, a ministry of health official said on Monday.

"The project management tender will be floated this year to build the medical city in northern Batnah," Ahmed Al Qasmi, director general for planning at the health ministry, said at a construction seminar in Muscat.

Batnah is a northern coastal region which is the most populated area in Oman after the capital Muscat.

The government-funded project will cover 5 million square metres and include residential space and shopping malls as well as hospitals.

Oman built its last major hospital 20 years ago and a growing population is stretching the Gulf Arab state's health care. The population is expanding at 4 percent a year; the latest official census shows there are 3.2 million people in the sultanate, of which 1.3 million are foreign workers.

"The project is part of our health care system to cater for future demand in this rapid expanding area," Al Qasmi said.

Oman is spending heavily on its infrastructure, taking advantage of a windfall from oil revenues. The sultanate envisages total state spending of 12.9 billion rials in 2013, up nearly 30 percent from the 2012 plan and roughly level with actual expenditure last year, which came in well over budget.

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