Local companies have their own worth and value for their contribution to the national economy and multi-dimensional growth of any country. A standard policy is always required for the empowerment of the local companies. Under this policy, organisations concerned help establish local and international economic entities from scratch. This is the policy that was pursued in Oman to reach the point where we are today.
Recently, the importance of this philosophy was realised when international companies, especially those in the oil and gas sector, started laying off local youth, despite the fact they were assigned projects worth billions of rials. What we expect from the government is to pay attention to the situation particularly in the oil and gas sector from where hundreds of millions of rials are going outside the country in one pretext or the other. Therefore, it is always advisable that the local companies should be set up and they should be assigned the projects according to their size. With government support, such entities can grow, excel, and get noticed.
There is no doubt that the national companies have proved their worth and usefulness if they got support from the government. Such companies have sustainability in their works and projects. If similar companies come up particularly in the oil and gas sector, after a certain period of support and empowerment, they grow to become international entities.
The growth of these companies would require a process of empowerment. The will to grow these companies should come from within. The government would need to take an interest in it. This would require more monitoring and accountability by the agencies concerned for the works and projects which are assigned to foreign companies. If these companies go against the approach of the government, they should be held accountable.
The government has been imparting huge responsibility to build companies since the 1970s. This has contributed to the creation of large entities working today in many economic sectors. Without government support, it was not possible for us to see such major companies. But this policy, which we had in the 70s and 80s, got diluted due to the clash of interests and multiplicity of authorities. On the contrary, this approach was supposed to be strengthened. This could also help save the jobs of the citizens.
Recently the idea of local added value has emerged. This should be adopted by the economic entities which reap the fruit and keep the money circulating in the country. Under the guidance of Late Sultan Qaboos, local companies were assigned the oil fields as a new experience. Now, these companies are doing formidably well in the oil sector and have emerged as major entities. In the same model, in recent years five major companies were also set up to expand the base. More such experiences are required in the oil and gas sector. More national companies should be given preference in construction and service projects.
Some of the companies are making efforts in the oil and gas sector, but they still below the mark. They are also not monitored and made accountable. They do not abide by even national standards. They serve the interests of international companies that take lion’s share from the proceeds of the projects which they actually do not implement.
We hope that the government organizations and monitoring authorities would support this sector to prevent any wrong practices which lead to exclusion of national companies, which can accomplish the jobs they are assigned to do.