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Tanfeedh seeks more input from women in Oman for nation building
October 3, 2016 | 8:16 PM
by Staff reporter
 
Sharelines

Muscat: Organisers at Tanfeedh, the government think tank building a roadmap for Oman’s future, have expressed concerns over the lack of female input.

Tanfeedh is a government inspired economic powerhouse, designed to bring government departments and the private sector together to clear away red tape and bureaucracy in the country.

The concept for the think tank is based on a Malaysian model, which successfully freed up doing business with the government and made all aspects of life in Malaysia easier to navigate for citizens and visitors alike.

Speaking during the third week of the National Programme for Enhancing Economic Diversification, Talal Sulaiman Al Rahbi, deputy secretary general of the Supreme Council for Planning, called for more women to come forward and take part, adding: “This is a concern for us, but the same thing happened in Malaysia also.”



A low turnout of women was noticed during the third week of Tanfeedh, which commenced on a Monday with a full house, despite the holiday.

However, the majority of Tanfeedh staff members working behind the scenes are female, according to Al Rahbi.



He explained that Tanfeedh has invited private sector firms to nominate a representative “who should have a level of understanding about the strategy of the firm.”

Ann Al Kindi, a member of the Board of Directors at the Omani Economic Association and one of the few female participants in Tanfeedh, said this reflects the lack of women in senior positions in Oman.

“It raises the question: are Omani top officials considering giving equal opportunity for women to be in decision making

positions?”

In Oman, there are 73,056 Omani women working in the civil services, compared with 82,705 men in 2015, according to the National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI).

But female employees made up for less than 20 per cent of Omani Civil Service employees in the top, middle and direct management, with 2,287 women and 8,317 men.

According to NCSI, there is no Omani female working as secretary general, head of municipality, governor or mayor, and the Sultanate had only three female ambassadors among a total of 49 ambassadors in 2015.

The Global Competitiveness Report 2016–2017 pointed out that the ratio of female participation to that of men in the Omani labour force is 0.36 to 1, and the country is ranked 128 out of 138.

Ministers, Shura members, undersecretaries and decision makers from the private sector also discussed future economic diversification in the Sultanate.

Tanfeedh is targeting five sectors of the economy and is busy bringing together experts in the field with government employees.

These sectors are manufacturing, tourism, transport and logistics, mining, and fisheries, according to Al Rahbi.

These “labs” created under the scheme will ensure there is little or no red tape in terms of doing business in these sectors.

Mohammed Al Hanai, a member of the Tanfeedh central leadership team, said it is premature to announce plans being discussed inside the labs “before making sure they are valid.”

Tanfeedh is a national initiative carried out as part of the 9th Five-Year Development Plan (2016-2020), in collaboration with the Malaysian government’s Performance Management and Delivery Unit (PEMANDU).

The 8th Five-Year Development Plan (2010-2015) was the biggest plan yet in terms of the projects approved, which focused on completing main infrastructure sectors, such as roads, ports and airports, according to Dr Ali bin Masoud Al Sunaidy, minister of Commerce and Industry.

This phase will continue until October 26, outlining the priorities and encouraging investments, such as zoning sites for tourism investment.

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