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Oman 2016 | ECONOMY | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to HE Abdullah bin Nasser Abdullah Al Bakri, Minister of Manpower, on progress in Omanization targets.

HE Abdullah bin Nasser Abdullah Al Bakri
BIOGRAPHY
HE Abdullah bin Nasser Abdullah Al Bakri was born in 1965 and received a BA in Arts in Lebanon and an MA in Management Systems in the UK. He was first appointed Director General of Regional Municipalities and the Environment in 1992, before taking the same position but moving from the Interior Region to the Al Batinah North Region instead in 1996. In 1997, he became the Director General of Technical Affairs before moving to Water Resources Affairs in 2001. He later became the Undersecretary for Water Resources Affairs in the Ministry of Regional Municipalities and Water Resources in 2003 and then took over his appointed position as the Minister of Manpower in 2008.

Last year you said that the ratio of expatriate workers in the Sultanate must not exceed 33%. To what extent was Omanization successful in 2014?

The Ministry of Manpower pays high interest to providing job opportunities to citizens through preparing and recruiting them. The national employees in the private sector in 2015 reached 218,852. Vacancies were 62,723. Job seekers utilizing such vacancies numbered 40,178, including 2,470 trainees.

Why does each sector implement a different Omanization target? How much do various industries respond to this government initiative?

The Omanization target is subject to the ministerial decision no. 321/2009, employment seminars, and sectorial committees supervising the private sector. Such committees set forth Omanization plans and mechanisms of training and recruitment. The possibility of implementing the Omanization target differs from one sector to another depending on the potential of each sector. There were positive experiences with businessmen as the decisions were made in view of economic and social considerations.

What are the details of the Ministry's decision to allow Omani students to work part time?

As part of the endeavors to provide job and training opportunities to graduates of technical colleges, vocational training centers, and fishermen institutes, the Ministry issued a ministerial decision regarding the organization of part-time jobs on the condition that work hours do not exceed four hours a day and the daily wage must not be less than OMR3 per hour. The recruitment is confined to Omani job seekers only. Firms are allowed to employ those who are over 16 between 6.00am and 6.00pm. The part time workforce must not exceed 10% of the Omanization target defined. Part-time recruiting is confined to the private sector facilities of foodstuff selling, fuel filling, restaurants, hotels, cafés, electronic and electric appliance stores, car agencies, agricultural works, money exchange, child and elderly care, travel and tour offices, vehicle driving, and educational and medical services.

To what extent does the Ministry of Manpower contribute to the advancement of students and entrepreneurs?

In response to the expectations of the youth and the government's orientations to upgrade human resources to develop their capabilities in order to achieve the desired goal of advancing education and vocational training programs based on an evolved system, the Ministry made unremitting efforts to link education outputs with the requirements of the labor market. The Ministry also seeks to develop and improve vocational training centers and fishermen rehabilitation institutes to keep abreast of developments in education and vocational training according to the requirements of the current and coming stages. In addition, the Ministry has made new steps toward vocational education and training, promoting it to the status of high education, recognizing its important role in developing human resources to fulfill the requirements of national development. The Ministry has also provided entrepreneurs and businessmen with a set of e-services to simplify the measures and access the information they need in an easy and smooth way. It also introduced facilities to support SMEs, including exempting SMEs from the Omanization target for professions and activities permissible, implementing a number of programs that help SMEs recruit an expatriate workforce, enhancing the work environment along with carrying out programs, courses, and studying and training curriculums in technical colleges, vocational training centers, and fishermen rehabilitation institutes.