It is anticipated that Oman will see an increase in the levels of international recruits during the forthcoming year as a result of increased investments in new projects.
The National Economy Minister in Oman, Ahmad Mekki, has revealed that there is a current deficit of workers in the country and that increased investment activities will necessitate the need for further resource from abroad. Speaking in the Emirates Business, Mekki said: “We will need more expatriates to keep up with the pace of the development from new projects next year. There are not enough nationals to fulfill all the jobs in demand.”
At present, there are approximately 870,000 expatriates working in Oman, almost 30% of the total population and five times the amount of those working in the private sector. According to industry experts, the sultanate is heavily dependent upon foreign workers, especially in the construction sectors, where there is insufficient local resource as a direct result of the perception that these roles are manual and are therefore not suitable for the locals.
‘We don’t have enough experts in civil engineering to cater for the rising demands,’ Rashid Alawi, managing partner at Muscat Investments Company told Reuters.
‘Young Omanis also are not willing to work as laborers because they see it as demeaning.”
It is believed that Oman have allocated a total budget of over 7 billion Omani rials to construction projects that will take place in 2010, with plans including the development of four airports, 3 ports, power plants and some petrochemical projects.
Rising oil prices have been named as a source of funding for the increased investment activities, with Oman receiving significant revenue during 2009 as a result of the fact that their oil sold at over $10 per barrel more than previously budgeted. Oman, which is not a member of OPEC, was not forced to cut output in the same way that fellow regional exporters were limited and was thus less affected during the recent global economic crisis.
The revelation that there will be an increase in foreign recruitment was accompanied by a bullish forecast for economic expansion in the region. The Minister of Finance, Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said, reveled that the Oman government expect an increase in real GDP of over 6% over the forthcoming year with inflation expected to be around 3.5%.
Ministers in Oman have also issued statements that confirm that they have no plans to join the GCC monetary union and will not abandon their currency peg to the US dollar. The governor of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency confirmed this in a report issued in the Saudi newspaper Al Eqtisadiah.