Times of Oman
Aug 31, 2015 LAST UPDATED AT 03:43 AM GMT
Omanisation: ‘Private sector must pay more’
August 10, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Minister of Commerce and Industry Ali bin Masoud Al Sunaidy.

Muscat: The private sector is still not as attractive as the public sector for Omanis, especially when it comes to lower level jobs, and a 'lift-up in the work environment' is necessary to encourage more locals to join, says Minister of Commerce and Industry Dr Ali bin Masoud Al Sunaidy.

Commenting on the main challenges facing the Omanisation process, Al Sunaidy said that one of the main challenges is that working in the private sector at lower levels is not as appealing as similar jobs in the public sector, which offers 'guaranteed salary' with 'stable' jobs.

"It should be offset in the private sector by higher salaries and more work, but that is not happening. There is more work and lesser salary," he told the Times of Oman. The minister added that another challenge is the way banks and similar entities view the private sector employees.

For instance, government employees seem to receive more loans, he said.

But those in higher categories, management and above, the private sector is becoming more attractive than the government sector though there are less jobs, he said.

Private sector is not yet attractive enough to compete with the government sector, Al Sunaidy noted, adding, "We are seeing a gradual growth now (in the number of) Omanis coming to the private sector, but it is slow and still below our expectations."

"There needs to be a lift-up of work environment in the private sector in order to make it more attractive. There needs to be more incentives in the private sector," the minister said.  

According to the National Centre for Statistics and Information, the number of Omanis working in the private sector and insured and active, increased by 3.7 per cent by May-end, 2014, totalling 188,669 employees, compared with 181,860 at the end of 2013.

The Times of Oman had earlier reported that according to the statistics, employment of Omanis in the public sector increased by 4.7 per cent in 2012 (13.5 per cent in 2011), that of expatriates rose by 9.3 per cent (6.6 per cent in 2011). 

Of the total employment in the public sector, employment of Omanis stood at 85.8 per cent in 2012 as compared to 86.3 per cent in 2011. 

Asked what the government can do to help the private sector in this regard, the minister said the private sector itself should make it more attractive but "we can make the procedures faster in the government and (reduce) the red tape and bureaucracy, if there is any, in different departments in the government.

"At the same time, perhaps the government would refrain from taking in more employees, rather than competing with the private sector in terms of creating jobs."

According to him, this cannot be done by the government alone and has to be done through coordination between the private sector and the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Ministry of Manpower. 

"Everyone has to do his or her share," Al Sunaidy said.

"And, as I said, probably, we should (move) towards not taking more staff in the government institutions and not compete with the private sector," the minister concluded.

To get in touch with the reporter elham@timesofoman.com

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