Omani medical interns unpaid due to oil crisis

One of them says he will turn to driving a taxi to make ends meet

Gulf News

Muscat: Approximately 24 Omani medical interns have not been paid for almost six months due to the financial crisis the country is going through amid the slump in oil prices, according to media reports.

The Omani Ministry of Finance has also halted employment as a result of the lower oil prices.

Hamed Al Mawali, a medical intern at the Royal Hospital, told Al Balad news website that he tried many times with the senior officials at the Ministry of Health to find a solution for this issue.

“The officials told me that the Ministry of Finance has halted payments for a while, without giving further details,” Al Mawali said.

Abdul Majeed Al Qutaiti, another medical intern working at the same hospital, said the Ministry of Health tried to pay the medical interns their salaries, but the Ministry of Finance would not allocate funds for them in the budget due to the financial crisis.

“All the doors are closed in our faces,” said Al Qutaiti.

Al Mawali alleged that the Ministry of Health pays hundreds of thousands of riyals in gratuity to expatriates while Omanis cannot get salaries. Al Mawali and Al Qutaiti, along with other medical interns, say they work for almost 12 hours every day.

Abdullah Al Abduli, another medical intern working at Sultan Qaboos University Hospital, said it’s unbearable that after studying for seven years, they have become a burden on their families.

Al Abduli is planning to buy a taxi to make some extra cash and make ends meet.

A medical intern in a government hospital in Oman makes approximately 1,000 riyals a month while a taxi driver makes between 600 and 700 riyals.

Omanis have launched a social media hashtag which in English means “I’m in solidarity with doctors”, expressing their resentment over the deterioration of the situation.

Saleh Al Saifi tweeted that he salutes the medical interns for their patience, urging the ministry to find urgent solution for them.

Mutaseem Al Mamari, tweeted that Oman faces an economic crisis and that while Omanis appreciate that, medical interns do not deserve such neglect. Medical interns hope that authorities concerned will intervene and pay their wages as they have family commitments.

The Ministry of Finance has allocated more than 1.3 billion riyals in budget for the Ministry of Health in 2016.

More than 390 doctors resigned in 2015 alone, according to the Ministry of Health.

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