Oman Business Reform
Currently, the weekend break in both Saudi Arabia and Oman is Thursday and Friday. But they have been pretty much the exception vis-à-vis other countries in the Gulf. Thus, effective May 1, the weekend break for these countries will likewise become Friday and Saturday. This follows a decree by Sultan Qaboos bin Said, Oman’s ruler.
In any case Friday is the traditional Muslim day of prayer. In addition, private companies have been ordered to give their workers equal days religious vacations as those employed by public companies in an effort to render non-state jobs more attractive.
The decree has been welcomed by various members of the Sultanate expatriate communities such as Zhra al Kindi (Broadcasting) and Vivendra De’ Silva (Section Head of Communication and Events Business). It has been said that this would allow for people to spend more time with their families as for those spouses that work in companies that give different days off it can become very problematic.
Vis-à-vis the economy, this move is set to assist in streamlining banking, commercial transactions, import and export with the rest of the world. Ultimately the idea is to decrease the gap between the benefits employees in the private sector get between those which are received by public sector employees.
Part of the statement on the decree said, “"Within the framework of His Majesty's concern for the social and living conditions of the citizens of Oman, His Majesty has issued a directive to increase the capital offered through easy housing-loan programmes to OMR100 million, starting from this year and continuing for the next two years. It should be noted that borrowers from the Housing Bank have previously been exempt from fees on housing loans.”