MUSCAT: The government accords special attention to providing reliable jobs for the nationals seekers and has laid out a multi-directional plan which includes expanding the specialisations required by the labour market. This was stated by Shaikh Abdullah bin Nasser al Bakri, Minister of Manpower, when he presented a statement before the Majlis Ash’shura regarding the status of labour market during the current (2011-2015) five-year plan, yesterday. “Currently there is a proposal presented to the Higher Education Council to expand admissions in technical and applied sciences colleges and integrate them with a view to increase the output of the specialisations required by the labour market” Al Bakri said.
Figures show an increase in the number of nationals joining higher education institutions while at the same time giant projects which are currently being implemented will generate lot of job opportunities. In turn, the number of job-seekers is not expected to rise in the coming years, Al Bakri said, adding that the official number of national job-seekers currently stands at 142,000 of whom only 62,000 are active, mostly women.
Responding to a question why no tangible progress was achieved in the employment of nationals in the private sector, Al Bakri said the rising government spending during the past years has led to an increased demand for expatriate workforce and the huge employment process in the public sector which began in 2011 tempted a large number of national job-seekers to desert the private sector.
The small- and mid-sized enterprises (SMEs) can play a significant role in providing job opportunities for the nationals, Al Bakri said, adding that the number of first, second, third and fourth class companies increased from 85,341 to 136,735 during the Eighth Five-Year Plan (2011-2015) with an average growth rate of 12,824 annually. SMEs provided 73,225 job opportunities during the 2010-2014 period, however, the hidden trade phenomenon has limited the efficiency of SMEs in employing nationals and consequently the Omanisation rate in SMEs dropped to 1.3 per cent in 2014 from 2.8 per cent in 2010 due to the fact that SMEs employ mainly expatriate workers.
SOURCE: OMAN DAILY OBSERVER