A circular released by Oman's Ministry of Finance and quoted by the official Oman News Agency (ONA) says the government will seek to provide Omanis with more job opportunities in state-owned organisations. The report did not give a time frame for the plan.
Official statistics show that about about 50,000 expatriates are employed by government organisations. More than half of them work in Oman’s oil and gas sectors, which have been hit hard by falling prices. Oman is currently selling its oil at less than $20 per barrel compared with $118 per barrel in 2014. The economy has also been affected by the lockdown imposed to contain its coronavirus outbreak, with 2,483 confirmed cases as of Saturday.
Expatriates make up 48 per cent of Oman’s 4.6 million population but most of them work in the private sector, according to official statistics.
With businesses struggling because of the coronavirus, the government last month barred companies in the private sector businesses from laying off Omanis.
Hashil Al-Saidi, a manpower analyst, said the coronavirus outbreak had "put the government in panic mode about jobs for nationals. But it needs to think carefully how to replace expatriates, especially in the critical sectors of oil and gas that form the backbone of our economy."