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Budget gives priority to social security

RO 384 million allocated for social protection

Muscat: Budget 2023 has allotted RO 384 million for social security in line with Oman Vision 2040, which aims to ensure standard of living for citizens.

His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik referred to social security in his speech on the 50th National Day in November 2020. "In affirmation of our interest in providing the necessary protection and care to our citizens, we have directed to expedite the establishment of the social protection system to ensure that the state fulfills its basic duties, provides people with a decent life and spares them the effects that may result from some measures and financial policies. We will also be keen to direct part of the revenues of these financial policies to the social protection system, to become a comprehensive national umbrella for the various efforts and actions of protection and social care".

In April 2021, Royal Decree No. 33/2021 established Social Protection Fund', which includes integrated civil sector pension funds in the Sultanate of Oman.

The social protection system includes several programmes based on national targets and best practices and addresses many problems, such as the inclusion of years of service and temporary work contracts.

According to Ali al Matani, a journalist, the social protection system is a set of procedures, policies and programmes concerned with well-being by enhancing work efficiency and pushing citizens towards exploiting their capabilities and competencies.

"We hope the social protection system will support solidarity and justice between generations and be a unified central system that includes all data of workers and retirees across sectors. It is very important to stress the need to direct this fund as a social investment tool, and it is managed by national competencies characterised by a social presence, an academic economic vision and investment expertise that undertakes the development, collection and integration of data" adding that time is running out, and the Royal Decree ruling the merger gave a deadline of 12 months to prepare the draft law from the date of its issuance, and until that moment the vision has not yet become clear.

He said, "The social protection system, the largest fund in the Sultanate of Oman, will include all retirees and workers in 11 pension funds and includes all state employees in one of the largest mergers the country has witnessed. Thus, it is a major step in drawing paths of social protection in the country and establishes a protection programme that is universal to provide areas of social protection against diseases and epidemics in addition to old-age benefits, coverage against work accidents and occupational diseases, family benefits, maternity benefits, disability grants, unemployment and heirs benefits".

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