Muscat: A cross-section of people welcomed Sultan Qaboos Bin Saeed’s decision to unify the weekend in Oman and order equal public holidays during festivals and other occasions. From May 1, Oman will have Friday-Saturday as the weekend for both the public as well as private sector, according to a statement issued by the Council of Ministers.

The Royal Decree issued by the Sultan on Saturday also ordered equal holidays for both public as well as private sectors during religious (Eid) and national holidays. “This is a very positive move that would boost the Omanisation efforts in the private sector,” Khaleel Bin Abdullah Bin Mohammad Al Khonji, Chairman of the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OCCI), told Gulf News. He also pointed out that with the new weekend, Oman will have common weekly holidays with the rest of the GCC countries.

As far as business is concerned, Al Khonji said: “The gap between us and Europe will now be reduced to three days instead of four.”

He was also optimistic that with the uniform holidays across both public and private sectors, Omanis would not be reluctant to accept private sector jobs. “This would definitely help the Omanisation drive in the private sector,” said the OCCI chief.

“I am sure now Omanis would have a more positive outlook about taking up employment in the private sector,” he said in reply to a question.

Al Khonji, whose old family home in Muttrah area is a meeting point for his entire family, feels that the new uniform weekend would also be a boost for families as they will have days off in common.

“In the past, kids went to school on Saturday and one of the parents stayed home as their weekend would be Friday-Saturday. Now the entire family can be home together duringthe weekend.”

“This is good news for all,” Shailesh Sheth, an Indian businessman and long-time Oman resident, told Gulf News as social media, Twitter and WhatsApp were busy with everyone exchanging this bit of news.