Muscat: To regulate disbursement measures, government agencies have to get all dues of all Omanis and expatriate employees currently working in government agencies approved by the Ministry of Finance, the Times of Oman learnt.
The move came about after the Ministry of Finance issued circular No. 22019, asking all the government bodies to stop providing end-of-service gratuities and/or severance packages, without their express permission, for employees, starting from 2019.
The circular reads, “Starting from January 1 of 2019, the Ministry of Finance has asked all the government bodies to ultimately stop dispensing on budget plan number 15801, the end-of-service gratuity for non-Omani employees, and the budget plan number 15802, the end-of-service gratuity for Omanis.”
The circular added, “The required sums to pay gratuity to employees whose services have ended in the budget of the authority concerned will now be in accordance with the application that it submits to the Ministry of Finance.”
The ministry has called on all the government agencies to abide by the decision.
An official at the Ministry of Finance told the Times of Oman, “In light of circular No. 2/2019 issued by the Ministry of Finance, it has been directed to the financial departments of the civil government units with regard to the end-of-service gratuity for all expats and Omanis. It is the desire of the Ministry to regulate the disbursement procedures and to ensure the payment of dues without delay to employees whose services in government agencies have ended.”
The Ministry pointed out that the previously established procedure for the disbursement of end-of-service benefits was made from special budgets, which are managed by the Ministry of Finance and referred to in the circular, while the new procedure requires the inclusion of the amount of receivables required after a study by the Ministry of Finance in the budget of each government body.
All the government agencies have to submit an application of end-of-service gratuity for all expats and Omanis who were employed and whose services have ended to the Ministry of Finance for approval. This is for the fiscal year that began on January 1, 2019.
According to figures from the 2019 budget approved by Oman’s Council of Ministers, the Majlis Al Shura and Majlis Al Dawla, the amount of money allocated towards employee salaries and entitlements was OMR4.5 billion, an increase of OMR1.1 billion since last year, when the amount allocated was OMR3.3 billion. This amounts to 76 per cent of the total expenditure for government agencies and public civil units.
The new budget for Oman has prioritised spending on the country’s non-oil future under the Tanfeedh plan for economic diversification.
In addition, there have also been additional resources provided to education, health, social security, social welfare and housing.
Times of Oman spoke to public sector employees, who had mixed reactions about the move. Khalid Al Amri (name changed) said, “I am a bit concerned because this means it may take longer for me to get my benefits, which I will need once I leave, because there are many responsibilities that I will need to look after even once I finish my current job. There are things that I have to take care of, and I am concerned that if the money comes late, I will be unable to do so.” Hossam Kamal, an Egyptian national, added, “I have a family to support back home in Cairo, and if the money is unfortunately delayed, then they might be a bit worried. I hope the money comes on time once we leave.”