Tag: Oman

The Youth of Oman

In this movie – filmed, edited and produced by Hannah Gaber (who has interests in Middle Eastern matters) – Oman is viewed through its youth. Through this we learn of some of the severest challenges the region is encountering, as depicted by the youth of the nation.

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Oman’s Electricity Investment Projects

Oman has encountered a substantial growth increase in capital investment for its electricity projects. According to one expert, the growth rate reached 27 percent, resulting in a total of OMR221 million as against OMR174 million in 2014.

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Oman Luxurious Hotel

businessmenTourism in Oman is increasing. This can be seen in the new, luxurious hotels that have been – and are set to be – built in the region, the first one being the Alila Jabal Ahkdar located in Nizma. So exquisite is this new residence that it won a design award – the silver certificate for “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. What else is impressive about the hotel is how – while it is comfortable and beautiful – it still does not stray from its heritage, featuring much local artistic work along with regional cuisine.

Alila Jabal Ahkdar is the new hotel in Nizma, Oman and the first of 10 more luxury resorts opening in this seemingly overlooked country. This recent development is a result of more than $US3 billion being invested in tourism in Oman.

So this is good news for business in Oman. Indeed, studies have shown that when hotels cater to the needs of business travelers, that is when their profit margin benefits. A report put out by the US Travel Association a couple of years ago found that global and domestic business travel in America spending totaled a staggering $266.5 billion over twelve months. In addition, business travelers probably make up one of the highest percentages of frequent travelers according to American Express Global Business Travel. With these statistics, it looks like Oman’s focus on new, luxurious, comfortable hotels is just good for business!

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Women’s Pay: Fairer in Sultanate

According to a recent survoman-flagey entitled, The Status of Working Women in the MENA, it appears that female professionals in Oman believe there is a “greater pay parity between genders in the Sultanate,” vis-à-vis most GCC countries. A prior Middle Eastern study also showed that 51 percent of female respondents believed they received equal treatment at work.

Indeed, female workers in Oman do receive the same salaries as their male counterparts. It is generally believed that one gets paid according to their performance, rather than their gender. This is good news since most people these days (73 percent) work in mixed gender environments. Seven in ten women claim they are comfortable with this arrangement with four in ten saying they are “very comfortable.”

Furthermore, 49 percent of women in the Sultanate feel that gender is not an issue at all when it comes to promotion, believing that their workplace offers this to both men and women equally, depending on their performance as echoed above.

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Oman Business News: Importance of SMEs

Abdullah Al JufailiSMEs are gaining increased credibility in business via the IT industry in Oman.  This is having a positive impact on the region’s economy.  Forecasts for Oman business as recorded in the Oman IT Market Report may be worth $410m, an increase of 6.5 percent from the estimated 2012 figure which was $385m.  It is also expected that the Omani government will be a substantial motivator of Omani IT spending over the next five years.

SMEs will also benefit from the recent MoUs signed between SAP and Gulf Business Machines under the PTPA.  These should be able to offer work experience to those looking for jobs.  For SMEs it helps them in leading technologies through corporations with IT firms and their partners. IT industry leaders believe that SMEs have the capacity to make a significant contribution to Oman’s economic growth, establishing jobs and thus helping the nation’s overall development.

Further, in a recent article in The Times of Oman, it was recorded that SMEs are the “lifeline of any economy.”  This belief was behind the establishment of Sharakah, an initiative backed by the government offering financial support to local entrepreneurs, help build them up, advocate policies that they will benefit from and spread awareness about entrepreneurship.   Since 1998 when it was first set up, Sharakah has sought to support Oman’s Vision 2020.

Sharakah has also supported many start-ups and business owners in different regions, from different sectors.   It has sought to ensure business sustainability and establish job opportunities. It has supported 70 projects to date.  According to Sharakah’s GM Abdullah Al Jufaili, Sharkah seeks out competitive projects that have a committed entrepreneur with plenty of growth opportunities.

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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.”

 

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Support for Growth of Oman Enterprises

The Zubair Group recently announced that it will be engaging in projects to support the development of Oman’s small enterprises. This will be engineered through the Zubair Small Enterprises Centre which aims to “nurture and support promising Omani enterprises.” It will do this by offering assistance in the fields of admin, finance and marketing while facilitating the collaboration between established business networks that already exist in Oman and abroad.

Initially the Centre will sponsor 10 small enterprises each year (while offering general support to others). It will also help from an educational standpoint through working with the Injaz organization.  It will set up the Tasees programme – first time ever in the Sultanate – and promote the Sharikati University contest.  Other help it will provide will be done through its fostering “the ideal environment for sustainable, commercial success of small businesses.”  It will do this through cooperating with the Oman Government’s objectives for the “continued growth of the SME sector.”

Basically, what the Centre aims to do in the short-term is offer young Omani entrepreneurs additional initiatives to help them develop their businesses, which will have the domino effect of enhancing the success of SMEs.  In the long-run, the vision of the Centre is to “become a small business centre hub that offers resources, services and programmes to assist accelerated growth of small enterprises, across all sectors and industries.”

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Nawras and WhatsApp

Nawras (an organization with international knowledge and a comprehension of Omani culture, to boost the region’s technology) recently reached an agreement with WhatsApp, Oman’s (and the world’s) top cross-platform mobile messaging service.  WhatsApp has a million+ customers in the Sultanate of Oman. With the new agreement, Nawras will be able to offer many new services for the Omani people. 

CMO of Nawras, Martin Lyne pointed out that WhatsApp has become “a very popular alternative to SMS for messaging, allowing customers to communicate instantly with contacts across the world. With this cross platform reach we will introduce further choice and flexibility for Nawras customers using WhatsApp.” Now, a weekly data plan has been formed, giving customers 50 megabytes of data and 50 SMS for a very good price – only 500 Baiza.  Various other plans will be launched to “enrich the daily lives of people in Oman” as well.   WhatsApp has been engaging in this kind of activity to facilitate communications in the region.

A free downloadable app, WhatsApp can be used on most smartphones for: regular phone use; photo sharing; file transfer with all other app users, etc., irrespective of what operator/handset they use.  Nawras is now designing products and services that are easy to use and suitable for modern methods of communication.

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Job Creation Scheme in Oman

Over the next year, Oman is planning on spending a further $1bn to create jobs for its citizens.  The money it is investing into this has come from its oil windfall, where revenues were particularly high especially during the first half of this year.  These monies will be able to more easily balance the budget, and, create new jobs.  Indeed, the government’s revenues increased 35 percent from the year before to 7.37bn rials ($19.1bn) due to high oil prices and rising production.  This amounted to more than quadruple the surplus from the timeframe of the year before.

The population in young is very young.  A lot of these youngsters are frustrated at the lack of jobs in the country which last year led to street protests.  Yet according to government figures, more than 50,000 new jobs were created from May 2011 to June 2012. Still, while the government hasn’t released unemployment figures, a manpower ministry official put the figure at 22,000 out of around 2 million. 15,000 of these are those who graduated this summer.

As well, according to the International Monetary Fund, in order to make a significant impact on lowering unemployment in the region, around 45,000 new private sector positions need to be created each year.

U.S.-Arab Chamber and OCCI

There is also an opportunity for America to help an Omani job creation scheme.  According to CEO and President of the U.S.-Arab Chamber, David Hamod, it is working with the Oman Chamber of Commerce & Industry (OCCI) to share US successful methods and stories to help start-ups in Oman. The OCCI’s Chairman H.E. Khalil bin Abdullah Al Khonji believes entrepreneurship is the way forward vis-à-vis job creation.  Since the private sector is largely comprised of small- and  medium-sized businesses, entrepreneurs need to take advantage of the connections they have with other business communities, like America, where crucial partnerships have been formed that will ultimately ease progress and development.

Recently OCCI and the U.S.-Arab Chamber announced a merger plan of the U.S. Joint Business Council which is set to promote start-ups; work on job creation and be the link between US and Omani SME’s.  In addition, according to Minister Al Sunaidi, the government has been working hard on job creation in a variety of ways, such as bridging the gap between the public and private sectors; raising the minimum wage and making it easier to change positions between the sectors.  As well, Oman’s government has substantially increased job opportunities in the public sector; elevated the standard of social services and put more emphasis on education.

So overall, significant means is going into improving the employment situation in Oman, thanks in most part to the country’s substantial oil revenues, but also due to various chambers getting together to see how best they can be of assistance.

 

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Job Creation Scheme in Oman

Over the next year, Oman is planning on spending a further $1bn to create jobs for its citizens.  The money it is investing into this has come from its oil windfall, where revenues were particularly high especially during the first half of this year.  These monies will be able to more easily balance the budget, and, create new jobs.  Indeed, the government’s revenues increased 35 percent from the year before to 7.37bn rials ($19.1bn) due to high oil prices and rising production.  This amounted to more than quadruple the surplus from the timeframe of the year before.

The population in young is very young.  A lot of these youngsters are frustrated at the lack of jobs in the country which last year led to street protests.  Yet according to government figures, more than 50,000 new jobs were created from May 2011 to June 2012. Still, while the government hasn’t released unemployment figures, a manpower ministry official put the figure at 22,000 out of around 2 million. 15,000 of these are those who graduated this summer.

As well, according to the International Monetary Fund, in order to make a significant impact on lowering unemployment in the region, around 45,000 new private sector positions need to be created each year.

U.S.-Arab Chamber and OCCI

There is also an opportunity for America to help an Omani job creation scheme.  According to CEO and President of the U.S.-Arab Chamber, David Hamod, it is working with the Oman Chamber of Commerce & Industry (OCCI) to share US successful methods and stories to help start-ups in Oman. The OCCI’s Chairman H.E. Khalil bin Abdullah Al Khonji believes entrepreneurship is the way forward vis-à-vis job creation.  Since the private sector is largely comprised of small- and  medium-sized businesses, entrepreneurs need to take advantage of the connections they have with other business communities, like America, where crucial partnerships have been formed that will ultimately ease progress and development.

Recently OCCI and the U.S.-Arab Chamber announced a merger plan of the U.S. Joint Business Council which is set to promote start-ups; work on job creation and be the link between US and Omani SME’s.  In addition, according to Minister Al Sunaidi, the government has been working hard on job creation in a variety of ways, such as bridging the gap between the public and private sectors; raising the minimum wage and making it easier to change positions between the sectors.  As well, Oman’s government has substantially increased job opportunities in the public sector; elevated the standard of social services and put more emphasis on education.

So overall, significant means is going into improving the employment situation in Oman, thanks in most part to the country’s substantial oil revenues, but also due to various chambers getting together to see how best they can be of assistance.

 

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