Friday, June 09, 2023 | Dhu al-Qaadah 19, 1444 H
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An experience worth replicating

Muscat Municipality's efforts in providing jobs to Omani youths in Seeb Souq is exemplary.

Muscat Municipality is working hard to support the efforts being made by various government organisations to provide self-employment to the Omani youths. It is doing this in coordination with the Ministry of Labour. This is helping in accommodating the local cadres in various professions related to traditional souqs. We all know that if such endeavors are made without a proper system or are not integrated they would go waste and fail in achieving the objective.

But what has been done in the traditional Seeb Souq to give employment to the Omanis is formidable and exemplary. The efforts made by the municipality became successful. However, if non-Omanis are also allowed to run such markets side by side, it would lead to the traditional market failures. Therefore, the Omani youth should get the opportunity to work in a way which is sustainable and where there is justified competition. If these aspects are not taken into account, it would cause multiple losses. Muscat Municipality can learn from traditional markets of other countries as well. The traditional items, goods and products of the places should be sold only in these souqs and not at other outlets. This is essential to get the desired results.

Such traditional markets, if run entirely by the locals, would also emerge as a major tourist attraction. Imagine an Omani Souq with entirely local manpower at the helm. Traditional products made by Omani hands and sold by Omani hands will have its own beauty. At such places, locals with prior experience can help others also to learn and experience the nitty gritty of this enterprise. If such experience is done, it should be supported by the Ministry of Heritage and Tourism, financed by the concerned organisations and should emerge as an opportunity for the small and medium enterprises to grow. Success of such markets or souq require a unique ecosystem.

Any efforts made to provide employment opportunities to the Omani youth should enjoy full support of government organisations, particularly that of the Ministry of Labour. It is the responsibility of all organisations and agencies. The souq which is organised and regulated by the municipality is a coordinated effort. In these traditional markets, only Omanis should be allowed to sell their products. It is the responsibility of the municipality to provide the required environment for them to develop and become successful in achieving the objective. The standards of these markets or souqs should be improved to emerge as tourist destinations. Every Omani traditional product and goods should be sold here and are not made available in other markets, such as hypermarkets. It would help in developing a complete image of the traditional market in the minds of the people as well as tourists.

Nizwa Souq is a wonderful example of the success of the Omanisation. A visitor finds Omani entrepreneurs active in the market. It develops national pride. It is an experience on which we can further build. It should enjoy the support of the government as well as the common people. Every organisation and individual in whatever capacity they are should extend their helping hand to make it a success. Giving opportunities for the Omani youth to get employment is an objective. But the achievement of this objective would be considered a success if these youths really become successful in their endeavours. The ultimate objective of giving jobs or opportunities for self-employment to these youth is to make them evolve and develop. This can be successful under the souq models which need multi-pronged strategy and support.

We do not deny the fact that there are challenges. But there are also innovative ideas and creative minds in the country available everywhere. There is no dearth of this in Muscat Municipality. It has to be utilised it in a proper manner. It would promote it as a 100 per cent Omani market, without allowing a parallel market to grow side by side.

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