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EDITOR IN CHIEF- ABDULLAH BIN SALIM AL SHUEILI

11th Jan - Much to celebrate

Picture,Of,Sultan,Qaboos,Palace,In,Muscat,,Oman
Picture,Of,Sultan,Qaboos,Palace,In,Muscat,,Oman

A renewed renaissance began this day in the year 2020 for the Sultanate of Oman under the leadership of His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik.


Under the Royal directives there have been attention given to increase the potential of SMEs and entrepreneurship, industries, agriculture and fisheries, development of women, support for the rehabilitation centers for the welfare of the people with disabilities as has been seen during His Majesty’s meetings with shaikhs from governorates of Dhofar, Al Dakhiliya, Al Wusta, South Al Sharqiya.


The growing role of the governorates in executing social and service projects sees the movement towards an approach that will see the participation of local administration in community development.


An important development that has been seen in the recent days has been the endorsement of the principle of government and citizens’ partnership in implementing projects that serve the public interest. During the meeting with Shaikhs from South Al Sharqiya, Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik stressed on the need to address difficulties that might come in the way of the march toward the domestic development.


The two years have had their share of success stories as well as challenges that were the same for the world as in the beginning with the oil prices and of course the pandemic.


The fluctuation in oil prices had created fiscal challenges in the past few years for the Sultanate of Oman and it has had its impact on the national economy. But we have just seen the new budget and it has taken into consideration the challenges and is in line with the Tenth Five Year Plan (2021 - 2025). The budget reflects the economic vision 2040.


According to experts public spending will be prudent and sustainable while the contribution of non-oil revenue will be enhanced leading to diversification. It is the diversification that sees the emphasis on tourism (which is recovering from the impact of the pandemic and travel restrictions), logistics, manufacturing, but most importantly SMEs. Measures have been taken to increase investors confidence and a major emphasis is on means to boost job creation by bringing about opportunities at the same time invest in training.


Small and Medium Enterprises also has the potential to create job opportunities and is one of the reasons Sultan Haitham has given extra support which was addressed during his meeting with the sheikhs and the directives have already been issued.


So it is these very challenges that have become part of the success stories.


The transition of education during the work from home period online to offline or opening of the establishments following strict guidelines have had its benefits. We are on a precautionary note again as Covid-19 numbers increase but what is important is that people have been made aware at the same time the vaccination drive has also been running efficiently.


As the day brings about it also reminds us of the value of each person’s contribution to the nation to continue the vibrant march of renaissance. Technology is evolving and is the era of Artificial Intelligence. Continuous learning is the way forward. As a young Omani who got his dream job after six years in the field he majored, said as he reflected, “I am still in a state of shock. But it just goes on to prove that if you hold onto your dream and hope it will surely happen one day. But I did not wait for it at home. I took many short courses, freelanced and took up other jobs too but now I have my dream job.”


So what is important is a vision and then work towards it and if everyone is aligned towards that vision, then every challenge is just a hump on the road.


The challenges can also be exciting adventures but the responsibility is in our hands too such as combating Omicron. Most importantly it is up to us to be innovative. And it is definitely an exciting time for SMEs!


Lakshmi Kothaneth


(The writer is a senior journalist and a radio anchor)


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