A view of Muscat Image Credit: Supplied

Muscat: Oman has ordered state-owned companies to accelerate the process of replacing foreign staff with Omani nationals, especially in senior positions, to create more jobs for its citizens.

The finance ministry gave public sector companies until July 2021 to draw up timetables to appoint Omanis in the place of foreign staff, including in managerial positions.

The ministry said large numbers of expatriates still occupied managerial posts in state-run firms.

The directive was part of Circular No. 14 for the year 2020, as reported by Times of Oman, and is part of the Omanisation policy.

The order for Omanisation of government sectors will be included in the 2021 budget plan, which government entities need to submit by July 2020. The circular has also said that the replacement of expats with Omanis will need to be done in a speedy and organised manner.

Foreigners make up more than 40 per cent of Oman's population of 4.6 million, and around 25 million foreigners, mostly Asians, live and work in the Gulf.

Faced with an economic slump and a sharp drop in oil revenues, Oman and other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states have been trying hard to create jobs for their own citizens.

The GCC states of Oman, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain are seeking to diversify their economies and integrate millions of new graduates into the workforce.

All have introduced legislation to give nationals preference over foreigners in both the public and private sectors.