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Souk market in Muscat. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Dubai: More than 6,000 Omani workers have lost their jobs in Oman in 2020, according to a new report published by the country’s workers' union.

The annual report published by the General Federation of Oman Workers Union (GFOW) revealed that a total of 6,341 Omani workers were notified about the termination of service from 120 companies last year.

The report attributed the surge in the number of people losing their jobs to the repercussions of the continuing global decline in oil prices, as well as the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on the companies, which led to the closure of many during the outbreak.

Earlier in January, Dr. Mahad bin Said Ba’owain, Minister of Labour, said that more than 300 companies with over 70,000 workers had applied for terminating workforce and cutting salaries.

“There are 300 establishments with more than 70,000 workers demanding the retrenchment of Omanis. We have made efforts to ensure that Omanis remain in their jobs without terminating their services,” the minister said in an interview with Oman TV.

The number of expatriates working in the country has also fallen by 14 per cent. According to the recent statistics by the National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI), there are now 1.148 million expatriates working in various private sector companies.

Meanwhile, investors and business owners in the country have stated that the Economic Stimulus Plan (EPL) approved by Sultan Haitian Bin Tarik will help to revive the Omani economy.

Some of the highlights from EPL include setting aside OMR20 million to train Omani jobseekers, reduction in expat recruitment fees, postponement of loan repayments until September for citizens affected by the pandemic and long-term residency for foreign investors. “EPL will certainly boost the market especially at a time when the COVID-19 related issues have hit businesses,” added Biju Raphael, an expat businessman in Muscat.