Muscat – There are 100,000 jobseekers in the sultanate, according to H E Dr Mahad bin Said bin Ali Ba’owain, Minister of Labour.

Speaking at a panel discussion titled ‘Labour, Employment, Economy and Investment’ during the second edition of the Together We Progress forum on Monday, H E Dr Ba’owain said the employment sector is influenced by various economic factors. The Ministry of Labour (MoL) delegates responsibility of employment to other authorities concerned, each according to their speciality, needs and availability of resources and training programmes. “If these conditions are not met, then foreign expertise can be sought,” the minister said.

H E Ba’owain informed that special committees have been formed for supervision in various sectors, including tourism, education, agriculture, transport and communications. These committees determine the required human resources and training, aligning these with existing labour market needs.

“Based on the latest statistics, the government sector employs 190,000 citizens, while the private sector employs 253,000. The percentage of jobseekers is 3.3%, with 100,000 individuals registered with the ministry. Of these, 80,000 have never worked before and 20,000 have previous work experience,” H E Ba’owain said.

He informed that steps are underway to generate 35,000 employment opportunities in the public and private sectors, which will be announced at the annual conference of the ministry.

Expat recruitment under scrutiny

MoL is actively working on a new initiative called ‘Recruitment Policy’, which involves a specialised team comprising representatives from various sectors. “Its primary focus is on skilled expatriate workers that Oman needs, with an emphasis on empowering local human resources. Priority will be given to local candidates in availing opportunities. The initiative aims to establish a clear mechanism for measuring the capabilities and experiences of expatriate workers. Additionally, a regulatory process for expatriate workers in Oman is being developed,” H E Ba’owain said.

Meanwhile, H E Dr Said Mohammed al Saqri, Minister of Economy, underscored the significance of reforming the labour market, noting that the 10th Five-Year Plan adopted a set of policies and procedures towards this ends.

He added that another issue of great importance to the government is automation of the construction sector. This, he said, is being done in cooperation with the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Investment Promotion.

H E Saqri also laid emphasis on the need to change certain policies pertaining to registration of visas and issuing investor visas with the aim of increasing the number of qualified professionals in the labour market. He stressed the importance of aligning education and training with the requirements of the labour market.

H E Saqri added that provisions have been introduced in the new labour law to give workers additional rights, and link productivity, compensation and recruitment-related programmes with the objective of raising their efficiency and productivity.

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