Muscat: Shaikh Abdullah bin Nasser Al Bakri, the Minister of Manpower, has said that citizens bear part of the responsibility for absconding workers and fugitives when they harbour such workers and give them jobs that ensure their livelihood.
Al Bakri said if everyone cooperated by not harbouring such workers, they would return to their sponsors because they would not have any other source of income.
"More stringent measures and penalties will be issued in the coming days against those who have laid off their workers for their own interests," stated Al Bakri, while interacting with the Majlis Al Shura for the last two days. Al Bakri also affirmed that the Ministry of Manpower cannot employ all citizens, and asked the Majlis Al Shura to be more supportive by urging citizens to accept jobs in the private sector.
He also denied reports that the Ministry of Manpower had offered substandard jobs to citizens like those of carpenters, barbers and blacksmiths. He stressed that the Ministry of Manpower announces the names of companies offering jobs and the salaries being offered, but some people refuse to take these jobs, preferring to wait for a job in the government. Al Bakri said the government could not absorb all the jobseekers.
He added that he is only too ready to find jobs for jobseekers, while stressing that Oman government is the only one that launches a job search, whereas elsewhere, jobseekers look for their own jobs.
Al Bakri justified the increasing number of expatriate workers, claiming this was due to the number of projects being launched in the Sultanate, which in turn benefitted the expatriates.
Govt sector preference
The Ministry of Manpower has also set the minimum wage at OMR750 for holders of bachelor's degrees, but citizens have rejected jobs because they wish to enrol in government jobs.
Al Bakri said the ministry would review the Omanisation policies for senior positions in the private sector companies Al Bakri also revealed that there were more than 11,000 absconding workers. He pointed out to Salim Al Hajri, a Didiyah Shura member, that the Ministry of Manpower is not responsible for absconding workers, especially housemaids, and asked citizens to supervise their own workers.
Al Bakri also noted that the pension for employees in the private sector would be raised to encourage citizens to join the private sector.
No more than 10 per cent of Omani nationals holding diplomas and bachelor's degrees have private sector jobs, compared with the 90 per cent of general diploma holders who have enrolled in the military sector in the Sultanate. Al Bakri said there are 153,000 jobseekers in the Sultanate, according to the Ministry of Manpower's last report.
Majid Al Abri, an Ibri Shura member, insisted that the Ministry of Manpower should control large, influential companies in the Sultanate, especially when there is evidence of Labour Law being flouted.
Salim Al Mshani, a Taqah Shura member, accused several ministers of indulging in private business and not disclosing it.
He said that the speech of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said in Saih Al Shamikat emphasised on small and medium enterprises (SMEs), but the Ministry of Manpower had created obstacles for SMEs and paved the way for the owners of large enterprises to succeed by providing special concessions to them.
Regarding the proliferation of the undisclosed trade, Al Bakri said a committee would be formed to combat this problem, which harms the national economy. He added that the citizens should also help combat such economic crimes.