Muscat: Plans are afoot to allocate 10 per cent of government contracts to small and medium enterprises (SMEs), as part of a major initiative to develop SME sector. "We are trying to implement this in the oil and gas sector. We have discussed it in our in-country value (ICV) committee, but this is not yet formalised," Nasser bin Khamis Al Jashmi, undersecretary at the Ministry of Oil and Gas, told the media, on the sidelines of an in-country value conference here on Wednesday.
Responding to a question on the problems faced by contracting firms due to delayed payments, he said that the SME department is discussing with the Ministry of Finance and other ministries to shorten the time taken for making payments by government sector. "We (the ICV committee) will also take up the matter, study the whole issue and come up with a plan."
Al Jashmi said a consultancy agency has conducted a study among four institutes — three government-owned and one private — to find the gaps in different areas of training, which included electricians. "We are trying to cover those gaps and improve the programmes for the requirement of the oil and gas sector."
Along with the local workforce development programme, the ICV blueprint strategy highlights the need to align the education and training curriculum to industry standards, set integrated training programmes to close competency gaps and define industry standards, among other local workforce development initiatives.