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Introduction

In Oman, the Omanisation programme has been in operation since 1988, working toward replacing expatriates with trained Omani Personnel. by the end of 1999, the number of Omanis in government services exceeded the set target of 72%, and in most departments reached 86% of employees. The Ministry has also stipulated fixed Omanisation targets in six areas of the private sector. Most companies have registered Omanisation plans. Since April 1998 a 'green card' has been awarded to companies that meet their Omanisation targets and comply with the eligibility criteria fro labour relations. The names of these companies are published in the local press and they receive preferential treatment in their dealings with the Ministry.

H. M. Sultan Qaboos to oversee Omanisation drive

His Majesty Sultan Qaboos has underlined the growing need for collective efforts to boost Omanisation, saying he would personally follow up the implementation of the recommendations of the newly-created National Manpower Employment Forum.

"Forums and studies usually tackle hypothetical issues but the subjects of this forum are realistic and the implementation of its recommendations will be possible only if there is a concerted effort from the government and the other sectors of the community", said Sultan Qaboos, while addressing at the royal camp in Ibri Walis, members of the State Council, the upper house of parliament, Majlis Al Shura, the lower house and dignitaries belonging to the Dhaihra region.

Omanisation, a campaign meant not only to ensure job for each citizen but also to reduce dependence on expatriates in search of self-reliance in human resource, has become the government's top priority more than ever before since the recent address by the Omani leader to the joint house of parliament, devoted as it was to the national manpower development.

The local media has been geared up to drive home the royal message to ensure a complete success of the campaign.

Already, thousands of illegal workers have been sent back home to create room for citizens and more are leaving before the extended amnesty deadline expires by the end of this month. A similar move was initiated three years ago.

Expatriates form more than one-fourth of the 2 million population, according to the first census held in 1993.The next one is due in late 2003. According to Oman Television, which broadcast the royal address in Ibri, Sultan Qaboos said he has watched some Proceedings of the forum on Omanisation on television and was impressed by the level of frankness pervading the atmosphere.

"Without open discussions nothing could be achieved", he announced.

A number of ministers, accompanying Sultan Qaboos on the tour, have come out with indepth working papers, pinpointing hurdles facing Omanisation and ways to remove them to meet the all-important objective.

One of the main obstacles, as pointed out by Sheikh Amor bin Shuwain Al Hosni, Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, was the presence of foreign top management which prefers expatriate workers, a clear hint that this top stratega needs to be 'Omanised.'

Sultan Qaboos said the Omani youth constituted a large vital section of the society and no effort would be spared to ensure a bright,dignified future for them. At the same time, he exhorted the youth to work diligently and selflessly for the development of the country, as "work ,whatever its nature, is a virtue."

He explained that citizens able to establish their own projects will not only benefit themselves but also their families and the whole community. "Failing to act and talking about obstacles and hurdles will lead to nowhere," he said.

The Ministry has stipulated a fixed Omanisation ratio in six areas of the private sector. Transport, storage and communications are to have 60% Omanisation, finance; insurance and real estate 45%; industry 35%; hotels and restaurants 30%; wholesale or retail trading 20% and contracting 15%.

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