Muscat: Oman plans to create more jobs for its nationals, the Council of Ministers announced on Wednesday. In a statement released by the state-run news agency, ONA, the council said 25,000 jobs would be created for Omanis in both private and public sectors starting from December.
“The Council of Ministers, guided and inspired by the directives of Sultan Qaboos Bin Saeed, embarked on a year-long study on the issue of employment and came out with a number of decisions in support of Omani job seekers, including a plan to provide 25,000 jobs in public and private establishments.
“The council decided to action against private sector establishments that do not cooperate with the government’s Omanisation drive,” the statement read.
The Council of Ministers has devised plans and programmes needed to provide suitable employment opportunities for the national manpower.
Throughout the year, the Cabinet has been engaged in ways to realise a suitable and sustainable treatment of all aspects of the employment issue. The statement added that the issue of job seekers was and has always been present on the agenda of the Council of Ministers.
“While commending all citizens for their understanding of the current challenges, the Council of Ministers has urged all private sector establishments to take the initiative and shoulder their national responsibilities on the issue of providing employment to Omanis, notably by offering employment conditions that are attractive to Omanis.
The Council of Ministers has urged private sector establishments to accord maximum priority to Omanisation in their programmes and projects, noting that action will be taken against the establishments which do not cooperate with the government in its Omanisation policies.
The current figures showed that there are 50,000 Omanis seeking work, according to the National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI).
The number of job seekers in Oman rose by 11 per cent by the end of July and most of those are university graduates, according to NCSI.
The country’s population currently stands at approximately 4.7 million people.
Omanis welcomed the move by launching a hashtag on Twitter entitled “Thank You Father Qaboos”, with hundreds of tweets, thanking Omani ruler for his directives.
Mohammad Ahmad, a twitter user, said that he has been waiting for two years to find a job. “Thank you Qaboos,” he said.
Buthaina, another user, said that after continuous demands of job seekers, Sultan Qaboos has responded to the calls of his citizens.
Omanis launched a hashtag “Omanis without jobs” on Twitter a few weeks ago and already seen 40,000 accounts with 650,000 tweets, demanding for job opportunities.
The government said earlier this year that it had created more than 150,000 jobs in the past four years.
The 2017 general budget focused on austerity measures and spending cuts owing to the plunge in oil prices.
Government spending this year is projected to total 11.7 billion riyals (Dh111.3 billion) and revenues 8.7 billion riyals, which would result in a deficit of 3 billion riyals.
Oman posted a budget deficit of 5.3 billion riyals in 2016, as revenues declined by more than 30 per cent.
Oman has smaller oil reserves and less of a cushion in government savings than its wealthier neighbours, making it vulnerable to the impact of lower oil prices that has depressed growth across the region.
Moody’s Investors Services cut Oman’s rating to its second-lowest investment grade in July, citing the country’s limited progress in addressing structural vulnerabilities.
— Fahad is a freelance journalist based in Muscat