The Grand Mosque Muscat. Oman has launched an aggressive programme to increase the percentage of Omanis in the private sector following its success in the public sector Image Credit: Rex Features

Dubai: The Ministry of Manpower of the Sultanate of Oman has set targets to enhance the role of national manpower in the country's economy under a series of decisions made in 2003.

It has provided all private companies with a handbook to guide them in drafting their annual plans aimed at achieving the targeted Omanisation percentages which must be presented to the ministry before August 15 every year.

However, the Omanisation programme has been in operation since 1988, working toward replacing expatriates with trained Omani personnel.

By the end of 1999, the number of Omanis in government services exceeded the target of 72 per cent, and in most departments reached 86 per cent.

Most companies have registered Omanisation plans. Since April 1998 a ‘green card' has been awarded to companies that meet their Omanisation targets and comply with the eligibility criteria for labour relations.

For example, the insurance sector had achieved 60 per cent Omanisation, the Oman Times wrote recently.

Leading role

Other projects such as the expansion of the Salalah port would create around 6,000 job opportunities "with an extreme vision to push Omanisation forward", according to Arjan Weerstand, a senior manager of project development and implementation at Salalah Port.

The Omani Institute of Bankers has played a leading role in increasing the number of Omanis working in the sector. The Central Bank monitors the progress of Omanisation made by commercial banks.

Other sectors where Omanisation is enforced are aviation, especially Oman Air, small and medium businesses, energy, tele-coms and the travel and tourism industry.