Reforms to reshape Oman’s landscape for social care

Oman Saturday 22/July/2023 21:45 PM
By: Times News Service
Reforms to reshape Oman’s landscape for social care

Muscat: Oman is getting all-round praise for its ambitious social reforms initiated by His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik with the issuance of Royal Decree No. (52/2023) on the Social Protection Law.

This landmark decision has the potential to reshape the social protection landscape of the Sultanate of Oman.

Not only citizens and residents, even the International Labour Organisation (ILO) has lauded the social protection reforms that will improve the quality of life of people in the country.

In its report, the UN agency said that this newly adopted legislation, developed with the support of the ILO, radically reshapes the social protection system in the Sultanate of Oman, and represents the culmination of an ambitious reform process launched under the Tawazun and Estidama programmes, which aim to achieve fiscal balance and sustainability.

The organisation added that cooperation between the Social Protection Fund and the International Labour Organisation identifies the main aspects of reforms and highlights its achievements. The measures include the development of a comprehensive and adequate social protection system that integrates and addresses life risks and vulnerabilities in an effective manner, without abandoning any group of society.

It aims to provide a sustainable model of financing and public revenues to ensure fairness, and contributes substantially to reducing poverty and inequality, in an integrated and cost-effective manner.

The UN organisation stated that the inspiring vision, led by His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik, expresses the government’s commitment to providing the necessary protection and care to citizens, in order to ensure that the state fulfils its basic duties and provides a decent life for citizens, and spares them the effects that may result from some financial procedures and policies.

The strong link between financial reforms and investment in social protection was evident through the tendency to allocate part of the revenues of financial policies to the social protection system, so that this system becomes a comprehensive national umbrella for the various efforts and measures of protection and social care.

The International Labour Organisation indicated that the experience of the Sultanate of Oman is an effective model for comprehensive social protection in the Arab region, and it will restore financial sustainability of the public sector pension systems, while opening up new resources to expand coverage, to ensure basic income security for all, enhance protection against new emerging risks, and facilitate transitions in the labour market. 

The organisation stated that this reform in social protection applies an integrated, multi-level approach, completely restructuring the social insurance system and the new unified retirement system, and provides comprehensive protection for workers in all sectors of employment, as well as greater opportunities for women through the application of a social protection approach that takes into account gender differences, according to specific steps towards expanding the rights of citizens working abroad.

ILO stressed that the social protection system provides the possibility of creating integrated benefits that guarantee the provision of basic income for all in a specific emergency, in line with International Labour Organisation Recommendation No. 202 of 2012, while ensuring higher levels of protection for people who are able to make contributions to social insurance through paid work, in line with the minimum standards of ILO Convention No. 102 of 1952.

Huda bint Salem Al Khatri explained that the social protection system is one of the basic pillars of any country, and it aims to provide support and care to the needy groups, improve the quality of life of individuals and meet their basic needs in the field of healthcare, housing, education and income.

She added that social protection systems differ from one country to another due to their impact on the economic, social and political factors of each country, and this system is one of the most important pillars of comprehensive development, as it works to achieve social equality, address the social and economic challenges facing some groups of people and provide a better opportunity for development.

Salem bin Ali Al Harthy said that the social protection system is an important pillar for any society that aims to ensure the well-being and security of its citizens and includes a wide range of policies, programmes and initiatives designed to protect individuals and societies from various risks and vulnerabilities, such as disease, disability and old age.

Dr. Rajab bin Ali Al Awisi stressed that the upcoming entitlements drawn by the social protection system at the individual, institutional and societal levels, in light of the changes taking place and the economic and social data, reflects the priority of the citizen in the Royal vision, and the concern and keenness of His Majesty to provide a decent life and safe living for the citizen.