Muscat: Omani nationals working in 28 companies based in Dhofar are expected to benefit from an increase in the minimum wage, thanks to an agreement between the government and private operators.
The workers will see an increase in their monthly rate from OMR325 to OMR400 after the Directorate General of Ministry of Manpower in Dhofar signed agreements with the companies to raise the minimum wage for nationals, an official at the General Directorate of the Ministry of Manpower in Dhofar said.
“We have signed agreements with 28 companies so far and more will agree in the coming days,” the official said.
Companies, including the Salalah port, Mina Petroleum, Salem Group, Dhofar Fisheries, Dhofar Structures and Iron industries, Dhofar Vegetable Oil and Derivatives, Dhofar Cattle Feed Company, Dhofar Poultry Company and other companies have agreed to raise the minimum wage for nationals,” said Khalid bin Hamad Al Rawahi, director of the General Directorate of the Ministry of Manpower in Dhofar, said.
He added that the decision was not only for now, but will be applicable in the future too.
“Raising the minimum pay for nationals, who receive OMR325, will reflect in the salaries for others too, such as those who earn more than OMR400. We try to create good relations with companies and explain that such issues have become necessary, especially in Dhofar, as most of the nationals don’t prefer to work for less than OMR400 as a monthly salary,” said Al Rawahi, adding that if the ministry wants to push nationals to work in the private sector, then it has to put this into action and create a better work atmosphere for them, especially when it comes to their pay.
“Companies should also show that they are willing to employ nationals and in return we can understand their situation whenever they are in a bad shape,” said Al Rawahi.
“We are working now with seven other companies and in the coming days, we might sign an agreement with them to raise the minimum salaries for nationals. We work according to a plan and our moves can be counted upon to push as many companies to raise the nationals’ salaries. We target companies, which have a higher number of Omanis as employees and also companies that have nationals as employees, with salaries of less than OMR400,” explained Al Rawahi.
He further stated that the ministry has come across several cases where nationals were only being paid OMR280 after deducting social insurance, which made it quite difficult for them to meet their needs for the entire month.
“Such people resign after a short time. They feel they are not benefiting from their jobs. When moves, such as raising the minimum wages for nationals take place and result in paying nationals OMR400 after the deduction of the social insurance, nationals will be happy to work and will not think of resigning,” said Al Rawahi.
“We followed up with the nationals working in companies, which have signed agreements with us and found them doing better at their jobs. Such examples are evidence for refuting the common theory that Omanis are not ready to work in the private sector. Once the work environment is fine, nationals will join the private sector and improve themselves and their careers,” Al Rawahi stressed.
“We are not special here in Dhofar, but it is about the efforts we made in the last eight months, which resulted in the agreements being signed with 28 companies. We tend to create better relations with companies. We not only follow the regulations and law, but also open doors for negotiation. When a company is running into losses and is in need of an expat workforce and therefore it has to employ nationals to get clearances for expat workers, we don’t put pressure on that company, but negotiate and find the best practice to make the company benefit and succeed, but at the same also benefit the nationals working in it. In some cases, some regulations can be delayed for sometime till the company starts doing well again in its business, which gives them a clear sign that they are benefiting from employing nationals,” said Al Rawahi.
He added that the he has no idea if the minimum wage for nationals working in the private sector in the whole Sultanate will be raised or not, but such decisions are taken by the government.
“Such a decision also has an impact on investment and therefore the economy of the Sultanate. Under the current situation, we can’t place more pressure on companies as the Sultanate is opening and facilitating opportunities for investment, but we can always negotiate and sign an agreement for the benefit of the nationals working in the private sector and also the companies,” Al Rawahi said, adding that it’s important for the government that companies, especially those that employ a large number of nationals, do not lose, but earn more and benefit the country and its nationals.
Yesterday, the General Directorate of Manpower in Dhofar had signed an agreement with the Dhofar Poultry Company to raise the minimum wage of its employees, who are Omani nationals to OMR400. The agreement will become effective from September 2016. The current minimum wage in Oman stands at OMR325.
In response to the agreement, Salim Al Mashani, chief executive officer of Dhofar Poultry Company, said such an agreement will push nationals to work in the private sector in a better atmosphere. “The company is keen to create a suitable atmosphere for nationals to become more productive in the private sector. We are always ready to work towards the benefit of nationals as we believe they are the real future of the Omani economy.