Oman Observer

Higher oil prices are great for the man in the street

Yogi Berra said, “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.” But I’ll be the seer, and say that for the Sultanate, this has been a great week, as the oil price has soared into the mid $75’s, per barrel, and looks like going a great deal further, on the back of recent positive indications from senior Opec officials.
That’s nothing short of astounding, and must be a genuine fillip to every one of the four million inhabitants of the ‘gentle nation.’ What this will mean, specifically, is uncertain, but taking a line through history, which is where we learn our best lessons, and the political realities of such rejuvenation in other societies, it can only be good news for Omanis first and subsequently for the expatriate community.
I’m just a layman, but like everyone else, I have a list of things I would like to see happen.
I don’t have any pretension towards politics, or any special financial acumen, but I think I can make a good case for the following as I look for solutions to issues facing the nation right now.
Now, keeping perspective, I haven’t looked any further than the end of my nose, but I do travel a lot, and in my work interact with a significant number of people, so here goes.
First, let’s make sure all children are safe in school buses, and family cars.
Option 1; For those families with small children, offer subsidies for standard conforming child car seats purchased in Oman.
I still shudder when I see kiddies standing on the seats of cars, sitting un-protected on mum’s or dad’s knee, or even running around in the boot compartment of a 4 x 4.
Option 2; Offer subsidised, or interest free, or even both, schemes to enable Omani families to buy
larger 4×4 vehicles or people carriers, sufficient to carry all family members, seated.
That would be great for kids, and a massive boost for a motor vehicle industry that is ‘feeling the pinch.’
There is no doubt too that an infrastructure working group is long overdue in servicing the roads of the Sultanate.
During the last two years there has been a dearth of work in two areas of concern, one being the median strip servicing.
The 120-km drive from Nizwa to Muscat is currently a grim reminder of hundreds of road accidents as there are very few stretches of median strip barriers that have not been bent, buckled, or completely removed.
At the same time, on hundreds of roads, the gravel shoulders have been scoured away by traffic, and when one must pull off the road for any reason, it is a most disconcerting and dangerous situation.
There has been no maintenance for 2 or 3 years on this road, so I can only assume it’s the same elsewhere.
The government drive for 25,000 jobs last year, and into this year, has offered a successful resolution according to a number of different ministry spokesmen, however the realities of the job market requirements are still not a reality for many,
who even when they are not given managerial positions, expect managerial status.
Getting a job is only part of the deal, and the youth should know that, “Work is not man’s punishment, but his reward, strength, and pleasure.”
Among the realities of working effectively are that you must recognise your role within the larger scheme of things, and that everyone is expected to contribute something to the production process.
We can’t all be bosses, and there is no shame in being a ‘blue collar worker,’ and Henry Ford recognised that we all have to ‘roll up our sleeves and get our hands dirty,’ saying, “You can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do,” and really, work is not about talking the talk!

Ray Petersen
petersen_ray@hotmail.com