Muscat: Oman’s expat population could be throttled back by over 10 per cent by 2040, according to government analysts, as Omanisation plans kick in.
Over the next two decades, the number of expats living and working in the Sultanate will increase by over 575,000.
As of January 2, there were 2,064,552 expats living and working in Oman. Government analysts believe that by 2040, that figure will only have risen by 575,447, to 2,640,000 – as the government’s Omanisation drive kicks in.
The total population of the Sultanate stands at 4,639,444 as of January 2, 2018, according to the latest data released by the National Centre for Statistics & Information (NCSI). Omanis number over 2.54 million while expatriates stand at over 2.09 million.
Analysts believe the Sultanate’s population will reach nearly 5 million within the next two years, and exceed 8 million by 2040, an increase of almost four million people.
The conclusion that the expat population will only rise by around 575,000 in the next 22 years was based on a study called “Population Development Scenarios by the Sultanate,” released by NCSI.
“The study expects that the number of expats in Oman will come down to 33 per cent from the current level of 44.5 per cent by 2040 if the government adopts policies to cut down the number of expats,” the report said.
Oman’s government has embarked on a strict Omanisation policy for citizens and is throttling back on expatriate hiring, where an Omani is available to do the job.
Major companies across the Sultanate have been given Omanisation targets to meet and massive re-training programmes are underway in targeted sectors of the economy like tourism and agriculture. The population study also indicates a significant development in the size and characteristics of the population of the Sultanate by 2040, and cites the increased demand for essentials like water, electricity, housing, education and new jobs, to achieve development goals.
The NCSI issued a study that includes the scenarios of population growth and the requirements of sustainable development between 2016 and 2040 in areas such as construction, health, education, electricity and water sector.
An increase of OMR31 billion in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is estimated between 2016 and 2040.
In the labour market, the scenarios indicate that about 78,000 newcomers will enter the labour market during the ninth five-year plan - 2016-2020, and by 2040 the number of newcomers will reach 568,000, the government believes.
The study indicates that the total number of housing units needed by the Sultanate to cover the population increase until 2040 is 576,000.
In the health sector, the average per capita expenditure is currently about OMR191 million.
The Sultanate will need 13,000 additional doctors to achieve a rate of 28 doctors per ten thousand residents. In the education sector, it is estimated that more than 4,000 classrooms will be needed and 64,000 teachers will be required by 2040.
In 2040, the number of students enrolled in schools will reach 2.2 million, which is equivalent to the Sultanate’s entire Omani population in 2015. Spending on schooling will reach OMR1.4 billion. The scenarios point to the need for OMR5.4 billion during the Ninth Five-Year Plan (2016-2020) and 31 billion to take the country into 2040.
Infrastructure projects, especially electricity and water projects, are important because of their role in promoting and supporting different sectors.
The scenario also requires about 1,1100 (Giga Watt) GWh of electricity until 2040 which will cost OMR336m to cover the annual requirement. Moreover, Oman will need 63.8b gallons of domestic water in 2040, as compared to 11 billion gallons in 2016.