Muscat: Construction companies must hire Omanis as managers, not expatriates, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry said in a circular issued this week.
In the circular, Dr Ali bin Masoud Al Sunaidy, Minister of Commerce and Industry, said that the hired managers must be registered with the Public Authority for Social Insurance (PASI). "The companies must hire an Omani manager when the owners of the company are busy working somewhere else," the directive said.
However, when a company is run by a citizen, who is registered as such with the PASI, then it is not mandatory to hire another Omani boss. The companies have been served a deadline of two years to implement this order.
The regulations also bar companies from carrying out construction activity, if they don't have the necessary permission.
"The regulations also make it mandatory for construction companies to stick to construction activity and not to indulge in any other businesses," it said. To run a construction company, the circular said, it must have at least OMR25,000 as capital and a bank certificate stating the deposit of money in the company's account.
"It must also have an office registered with the competent authorities," the circular said, while adding that all the construction companies must register with the Contractors Association of Oman. "Companies violating the regulation can face suspension of their licence for one year," a source working with the
Ministry of Commerce and Industry warned.
Meanwhile, construction companies, and the airlines which normally fly in labourers from outside Oman, are feeling the heat after a ban on employing expat construction workers and housekeeping staff in private sector was extended by another six months by the Ministry of Manpower in May, 2014. The six-month ban was initially due to expire on May 1.
"First of all, Ramadan is a lean season, so there are not many travellers. Secondly, this decision is hurting us badly," a senior official of an airline that operates seven flights a week to Muscat, said. A reliable source at the Ministry of Manpower said the ban has been extended after reviewing the needs of the expat labour market.
Exceptions to the ban include firms categorised as excellent, first grade, consultancy establishments, as well as companies working on government projects, those managed full time by their Omani owners if they are registered with the Public Authority for the Development of Small and Medium Enterprises (PADSME) and insured with the PASI.
The owners of construction companies expressed their apprehensions in the social media as many of them run more than one activity alongside construction business and feel the new regulations might threaten existence of many construction companies in the market.
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