Following the recent protests and clashes with police, the Omani government launched a number of employment opportunities in the public sector, and more private-sector jobs could be on the horizon.
Oman’s Sultan Haitham promised last week to create 32,000 full and part-time jobs and subsidize private companies that take on Omanis.
In recent years, there have been a number of large-scale projects across different sectors such as the Duqm refinery, the new Muscat international airport, and the Batinah expressway scheme, among others.
Foreign investments are expected to flow in major industrial hubs in Sohar, Duqm, and Salalah. Chinese investment, in particular, will be key as part of its Belt and Road Initiative to benefit from Oman’s position on the main East-West shipping axis.
“The youth are the nation’s wealth. We will make sure we listen to them, sense their needs, interests, and aspirations,” Sultan Haitham said.
Oman has pushed forward its program of replacing foreign workers with Omani citizens to ease pressure on the job market.
More than 200,000 foreign workers left Oman between March 2020 and March this year, the ministry of finance said recently.
Jobs, jobs, jobs
More job opportunities have been announced across a number of fields. The Sultan Qaboos Academy for Police Sciences has opened a training course for Omani fresh police recruits who recently joined Royal Oman Police (ROP).
Participants will undergo basic training that qualifies them to shoulder the duties and tasks of the ROP.
Plans to step up Omanisation rates in the country’s electricity sector have also been put into action. The employment of 800 Omanis under sub-contractors working in this sector is being looked into by the Authority for Public Services Regulation.
The jobs are for those sub-contractors that work with licensed companies. A number of private sector companies have also announced employment and training opportunities for Omanis that meet their requirements. Oil and gas companies have announced 100 new vacancies, while shipping, delivery, and logistics firms are looking to hire a further 785 people.
A number of real estate and construction firms have together announced nearly 125 new openings. 200 opportunities for training and employment for a two-year span have been announced by a leading bank in the country.
Besides, a leading utility provider is looking for 300 people to join its operations. Universities have also announced about 70 new vacancies. Opportunities for training and employment are also available in food and beverage, and hospitality.
The Sultan’s Armed Forces will also begin receiving recruits as part of the initiative to employ more locals. The Royal Army of Oman and the Royal Air Force of Oman will, from Monday, 31 May onwards, begin receiving candidates fit for induction into the armed forces. The Royal Navy will begin a day later.
The armed forces will also publish announcements regarding recruitment, and employment to various posts in the Defense Ministry via official channels, including local newspapers and websites.
In education, 2,733 expatriates will be replaced by Omanis who have cleared the relevant teaching exams during the current and previous years, according to the Ministry of Education.
The Ministry of Labour also held on Friday a joint meeting with the Directors-General of Human Resources at various government bodies to devise ways to employ more citizens across various sectors of the labor market.
Oman economy update
The IMF estimated Oman’s gross external debt will go down to around 112% of GDP this year from 127% last year.
Oman is facing debt redemptions worth about $11 billion this year and next.
Oman’s hydrocarbons sector accounted for about a third of its GDP in 2019.
Since the oil price crash in 2014, its debt to GDP ratio has lept from about 15% in 2015 to 80% last year.
Oman introduced value-added tax (VAT) last April, helping Oman to raise billions of dollars in bonds and loans this year.
“Oman provided comfortable levels of information since late last year that supported the market and are further supported by oil prices at $70 per barrel, which significantly reduced their funding gap,” said Zeina Rizk, executive director, fixed-income asset management, at Arqaam Capital.
“Also, Oman raised most of its budget funding needs this year, which is also supportive,” she said.
Oman plans to reduce its budget deficit from more than $10.4 bn in 2020, or 15.8% of GDP, to $1.4 bn in 2024, which would be equivalent to 1.7% of GDP.
Oman is also aiming to increase non-oil revenue to 35% of the overall total in the coming years from 28% last year.
Oman’s unemployment rate spiked to a record 5% last year and youth unemployment is over 10%, according to World Bank data.