Oman


Mega projects in Oman spur demand for foreign workers


Times of Oman file photo

Muscat: A large number of development projects has driven the demand of foreign workers in Oman. Speaking to the Times of Oman, Amer bin Awadh Al Rawas, Omantel's CEO, said that the huge increase in the number of expat workers is 'natural,' given the surge in the number of infrastructure projects being implemented.

'Omanisation is positive'
Nitin Sujanani, general manager of the Indian Social Club Muscat, sees it as a win-win situation.

He says that the increase is mainly in the number of 'blue-collar workers' who are implementing infrastructure projects and hence the country is benefiting from foreign workers.

Meanwhile, Sujanani believes that Omanisation is positive and locals should be trained to contribute to the country in the long run.

Oman Broadband Company's chief executive officer, Said Al Mandhari, says that despite the huge increase, no 'aggressive' plan should be implemented to suddenly reduce the number of foreign workers.

"We have to plan it well to replace the expatriates with the local people. Now there is a danger of replacing them all of a sudden with a very aggressive plan," Al Mandhari said, adding, "We have to prepare our generation with better education."

K. Jayan, vice-president, Starcare UK, says that the high growth in expatriate workforce in the past decade is mostly associated with the large infrastructure development projects and allied requirements.

The increase indicates the unprecedented pace of development in the history of Oman and is justified by the need for technical skills, cheap labour and quick availability, Jayan said.

"Another notable aspect is the growth in the number of Omani nationals employed in the private sector in the same period. Responding to the appeals by the government, the private sector has embraced Omanisation with earnestness and the result has been a three-fold growth in the number of Omani nationals in the private sector."

However, Omanisation should be implemented in a phased manner with due consideration for the scope of training, availability of skilled resources and economic viability of companies, Jayan noted.

"In my opinion, the need of the hour is to strike a balance in such a way that local talent is groomed and nurtured while preserving economic viability.

Oman is now in a phase of exponential growth. At this juncture, it is important to develop a multi-talented resource pool containing nationals and complemented by expatriates in the required areas," he concluded.

Dr Jawad Al Lawati, a senior official at the Ministry of Health, says that although the presence of most expatriates in Oman is necessary for the development of large projects, some health-related issues should be taken into consideration.

To get in touch with the reporter: elham@timesofoman.com

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