Muscat is a wonderful small city with old-age charm. Image Credit: Supplied picture

Muscat: Oman will limit the proportion of expatriates working in the private sector from 39 per cent to 33 per cent, the minister of labour said in a press conference on Monday.

In an effort to increase the percentage of national manpower in the private sector and to rationalise the recruitment of expatriates, Shaikh Abdullah bin Nasser Al Bakri, Minister of Manpower held a press conference at the ministry headquarters on Monday, outlining the decisions.

The minister affirmed that the government was committed to limit the level of expatriates working in the private sector from 39 per cent (1,776,583 people) to 33 per cent.

He added that the breakdown of the manpower is as follows; 244,698 nationals are working for the private sector, 1,308,981 expatriates working for the private sector and 242,904 of expatriates working in special services.

He pointed out that intensive efforts were made last year by the government, in close cooperation with representatives of businessmen, the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Federation of Oman General Trade Union, to regularise the labour market, update its legislations and provide job opportunities for citizens to enhance their contribution to the development process, meet the needs of the private sectors in terms of manpower, develop work inspection, regularise business relations among production stakeholders and enhance the technical education and vocational training fields.

He affirmed that the labour market regularisation comes in response to the demographic changes witnessed by the Omani labour market. The statistics data shown by the National Centre for Statistics and Data point out that the Sultanate’s population stood at 3.876 million as of the end of 2013 of which expatriates constitutes 44 per cent. The level of expatriates was 27.7 per cent in 2003 and 34.9 per cent in 2010.

As for the distribution of national manpower at the private sector in terms of qualifications, he pointed out that 36 per cent of the national manpower are holders of less than a general education diploma (high school), compared to 64 per cent general education diploma and higher. 71.8 per cent of the expatriates were less than general education diploma and 28.2 per cent are holders of general education diploma and above.

The number of private sector institutions that employ national labour and expatriates stood at 147,438.

Shaikh Al Bakri affirmed that the net increase in the national manpower at the private sector is 14,059, as 57,980 were newly appointed and 43,921 have resigned or terminated their service.

The net increase in the expatriate manpower stood at 135,477. The number of issued clearances stood at 332,063 compared to 196,616 who left the Sultanate for good.

48,203 cases were reported to have more than one commercial registration. This has a negative effect on the efforts made by the government and other respective departments to enhance the key role played by SMEs in generating job opportunities for national manpower.

The Minister of Manpower called upon owners of commercial registrations and private sector to put an end to this phenomenon.

As for the work violations, he added that the violators of labour regulations stood at 15,885 in 2013.

During 2013, 15 inspection campaigns have been carried out resulting in spotting 15,885 violators including 7,447 who absconded their original employers.

As for labour disputes, the Minister of Manpower said that the Ministry received 4,072 labour complaints of which 2,217 or 55 per cent were settled cordially. 906 complaints are under processing and 949 were referred to the court.

He affirmed that the ministry took a number of measures to regularise the national manpower and increase its share at the private sector, such as increasing the minimum salary to RO 325, amending the pension system of the Public Authority for Social Insurance, standardising the weekly off days and approving not less than 3 per cent annual increment.

The Ministry of Manpower will complete the electronic linkage with the respective authority to regularise the labour market and issue the expatriates’ clearances electronically.