Muscat: There is a need to modify the Omani Labour Law to ease doing business in Oman and to meet the current economic changes, said business owners attending a seminar held at the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OCCI) on Monday.
The seminar, organised by the Human Resources and Labour Market Committee at OCCI, aims to discuss the current law and consider recommendations from Human Resource and Labour Department officials.
Said bin Saleh Al Kiyumi, chairman of OCCI, said the labour law needs to be revised to ease the process of doing business in Oman. “The economic changes require us to change laws in general. Today, there’s an economic crisis and the laws do not go along with these changes. We need to amend the labour law together, with both employees and employers,” he stated.
On the sidelines of the seminar, the Times of Oman spoke to a number of business owners.
Ahmad Al Shaidani, owner of a local SME (Small to Medium Enterprise) said he is struggling with the Omanisation rate the labour law is demanding. “Our project is new, just a year old and the law needs us to reach 35 per cent Omanisation. This is difficult for us.”
He further said SMEs should get a year’s respite to achieve the required Omanisation rate.
“After that, Omanisation can be increased gradually to 5, 10 or 15 per cent. Not 35 per cent in the first year,” he said.
Awadh Al Mahri, chairman of the Peaceland Group, said the current law caters too much to workers and not enough for employers.
“The law is only there for the interest of the Omani worker. The aim (of the Ministry of Manpower) is to hire Omanis, give them more salary and give them more holidays. It does not aim to protect companies or to protect investments. He added that the law is a burden on employers, as well as foreign investors, who want to do business in Oman.
“When a company hires Omanis, the law provides high salaries, which are not linked to their productivity. If foreign investors see this, they see it as a burden. They’ll think twice before investing in Oman,” he stated.
He added that the law also does not protect investments. “There’s no law to protect investments. Oman wants investment companies, but with this law, they cannot work in Oman,” he added.
On the other hand, Ammar Rashid Al Aamri, administrator at a local company, said workers are not protected enough under the current law.
“Business owners in my opinion should not focus on only one side. The problem is the national workforce. They will succeed if they are financially and spiritually supported by the business owners. The worker is the brick of organisations in the private sector. We invite the business owners to support Omani working youth and allow them more potential,” he said.