Omanisation policies are not helping the private sector, according to the government body overseeing the Sultanate’s diversification plans.
In its annual report, the Implementation Support and Follow-Up Unit (ISFU) stated, “The current Omanisation policy adopted is not helping the progress of the private sector. That is because the ministry is micromanaging the private sector instead of actually partnering with it. This is unattractive to investors.”
The report further detailed that Omanisation stood at 35.1 per cent in the tourism sector, 23 per cent in manufacturing, and 14.1 per cent in logistics. Additionally, a total of 54,819 people are employed in the construction sector.
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“The labour sector has worked on some good initiatives throughout the year, such as part-time and temporary work, which improves the flow of labour market and changes the existing culture,” the report continued.
“The panel has named some areas of improvement. The overall productivity of employees in the Arab world is relatively low. In the Sultanate, the current applied mechanism of enforced recruitment may cut down the number of jobseekers. However, this mechanism increases the ‘underemployment’ rate which results in lowering the productivity even further,” it added.
Shashwar Al Balushi, Head of the Tanfeedh labs and CEO of the Oman Contractors Society, told the Times of Oman, “Micromanagement definitely creates a problem when the government is directly involved with companies. The government instead should play the role of a regulator, issuing laws. Those laws in turn should support the economy and be realistic on the ground.”
“With the changes that we have seen in the economy, the expectation is that policies and regulations will change along with it. However, our view is that some of the regulations have become very challenging to implement, given the current economic conditions companies are facing, and those regulations should be looked at again and changed to reflect the current situation,” Al Balushi added.
Aziz Al Hasani, Shura Council member, said, “We are in an on-going meeting with private sector officials and they assured us that there are many job opportunities that can be available annually to jobseekers in different sectors but this needs an administrative organising.”
“The legislative authorities must sit down and talk to the private sector and listen to their demands to modify some regulations and policies. On the other hand, the Ministry of Manpower must update job titles because the list of current job titles does not meet the needs of the private sector. Many private companies have enough staff and they cannot absorb more jobseekers, so it is necessary to open the field for investors from abroad and improve new sectors such as tourism, agriculture and fisheries. This will create more jobs for citizens. Additionally, we must begin long-term planning instead of reactions to specific situations,” he added.
“Another solution is for middle-level jobs to be given to citizens immediately because it is not logical that there are no Omanis who can fill positions at this level. Training opportunities should be provided to young people in private sector institutions during their studies so that there is no excuse for institutions not to employ them after graduation,” said Al Hasani.
Hamid Hamirani, Senior Economist at the Ministry of Finance Minister’s Office, said, “To earn a decent living is a basic human right. It is important to create quality earning potential for Omani nationals. Direct employment is not the only source of creating quality earning; fostering SMEs and entrepreneurship is equally if not more important as we are at the cusp of a technological revolution that is disrupting conventional methods of earning a living.”
Some pointed out the need for Oman’s next generation of employees to be ready for the digital age.
“Automation, artificial intelligence, robotics and quantum commuting will shape the jobs of tomorrow. It is therefore important for Oman to foster skill-sets that are relevant, so that the youth of today are not left behind in the digital race,” he added.
A.H Raja, Former Vice Chairman at Pakistan Social Club, said, “Initially, I agreed with the above report; Omanisation should be based on competitive skills rather than numbers. In the long run, this method of implementation will help the local talent take responsibilities on their shoulders accordingly.”
© Muscat Media Group