Muscat: Oman Society of Contractors (OSC) welcomes His Majesty Sultan Qaboos' directive on the partnership between the government and private sector. OSC Vice-Chairman Sheikh Mashhoor Al-Asfoor lauded His Majesty's directive as a boost to the private sector to play a vital role in the growth of economy in the coming years.
Current employment statistics in the Omani construction industry indicates that — at the level of specialists — the percentage of Omanis is 6.5 per cent compared to 93.5 per cent of expats and for skilled labourers, the percentage of Omanis is 14.5 per cent compared to expats 85.5 per cent. This indicates that the construction industry has a big room for employing Omanis at the various levels.
Construction industry being the largest sector and the biggest employer among other industrial sectors in the Sultanate has the highest share of private sector partnership with many multibillion projects in the pipeline and under construction. This could provide opportunity for the locals for employment avenues and in return improve living standards of Omanis.
Moreover, due to depleting oil resources and the fluctuating oil price, the government is on alert to lookout for other sources of revenue to sustain economic growth. The private sector has a big role towards this, especially construction sector which the government considers as one of the major contributors to the gross domestic product (GDP).
Sheikh Al-Asfoor said the government had shown understanding towards improving the environment of the local construction industry. Also, the government accepted the role of OSC as being a representative for a great portion of the industry and shown a great interest to engage OSC in addressing the various matters concerning the sector.
Sheikh Al-Asfoor said that OSC's effort to improve the communication between OSC and the government are on the right track. Although the government made some minor steps, however, the sector requires critical steps to be implemented.
As a result of our continuous dialogue with various governmental organisations, OSC managed to draw a conviction to form a joint committee by the Ministry of Finance, Tender Board and OSC.
This committee is to review the issues pertaining to tender documents, variation orders, standard conditions of contract, and guarantees. Also, through the construction sectorial committee, the MOMP decided to separate the construction industry from other industries, a step reflecting a better understanding with the particularities of the industry.
That decision immediately yielded the allocation of a Technical Institute under MOMP dedicated to train personnel in the construction industry, he further said. For further improving the functional conditions in the construction industry, he said, it's vital that the government makes critical changes in the current practices of the Project Management in the various governmental agencies.
Upgrading or altering or increasing the manpower in the project departments, setting-up new legislation in which the government employee is held accountable for negligence of contractors' interest.