While expressing optimism over the recent reforms in the labour policies adopted in the Sultanate, a top global agency called for enhancing employment opportunities for women in the country.
“Flexible labor policies would ease human resource reallocation and strengthen job creation in Oman”, said a statement as part of the preliminary findings of International Monetary Fund (IMF) staff at the end of an official staff visit or ‘mission’ to Oman.
It also recommended that increased attention should be paid to further increasing female employment to promote inclusive growth.
“To foster sustained private sector job creation”, recommends the IMF mission, “public sector wage (and benefits) growth should not outpace that of the private sector.
However, the mission said that plans to further reduce the labor cost gap between Omanis and expatriates by increasing fees for hiring expatriates should be implemented with caution to avoid undermining the price competitiveness of the private sector.
According to its findings, the simplification of multiple minimum wages linked to qualification levels and the monthly single minimum wage are positive signs of a strategy that will spur job growth targeted at Omani nationals.
Regardless of the qualifications, Omanis will be paid RO 325, which is the minimum prescribed salary for Omani job seekers.
Also came in for appreciation are the time-bound wage subsidy of RO 200 month for first time Omani jobseekers to facilitate private sector employment of Omanis. The programme is initially expected to cover about 15,000 people.
Other findings of the mission include the Job Security Fund—an unemployment benefit scheme—to facilitate the reallocation of workers between different employers and relaxation of restrictions on job transfers for expatriates.
“Policies aimed at enhancing productivity growth and the ongoing reforms that aim at enhancing labor market flexibility, promoting investment, and improving the business climate go in the right direction”, it said.
Oman’s Ministry of Labour has been initiating several moves to ensure more and more job availability for Omanis in private as well as government sector.
More recently several vacancies in the fields of various government related services, including health sector, were announced, calling for Omani candidates.
The Labour Ministry officials have also been regularly meeting private sector representatives on creating job opportunities for Omani citizens as well as to review the Omanisation process in organisations.
Dr Mahad bin Said Baowain, Minister of Labour, while giving a visual presentation before the Majlis Ash’Shura last week about the ministry’s plan for the Sultanate’s labour market in 2021, disclosed that the ministry was in the process of reviewing the laws and legislation relating to the labour market in the Sultanate.
These include a national strategy for Oman’s digital society and e-government, replacement and employment management in cooperation with relevant, developing labour market policies, enhancing the attractiveness of the private sector, and national programmes for rehabilitation and training of Omani jobseekers.