Oman Will Fire All Indians, & Other Expats From State-Owned Firms; 800,000 Indians Will Be Impacted
According to a dramatic development, the Gulf monarchy of Oman has asked all state-owned companies to fire expat workers and replace them with local Omanis.
How Did This Happen?
Basically, the order shows that the “Omanisation” campaign, which was launched during the rule of Sultan Qaboos who passed away on January 10, has intensified.
However, sources claimed that the move was unlikely to immediately affect the Omani private sector which also is a major employer of expat workers from South Asia.
Further, the order was part of the financial guidelines issued by the government to state-owned companies on Wednesday which laid down the path of indigenization of the Omani economy.
How Would This Affect?
As per the estimation, around a third of Oman’s 4.6 million residents are expatriates who work in state-owned and private sectors.
Out of them, there are at least 8,00,000 Indian workers in the kingdom and a part of them are likely to be impacted by the order.
Although the order is limited to state-owned companies, it is expected that in the long run, the private sector will be under pressure to follow the state sector.
What About Austerity Measures?
During the last few months, Oman has been implementing new austerity measures in the public sector.
Moreover, the Finance Ministry of Oman had asked all state sector companies to avoid new projects this year and asked them to limit operational and administrative expenses in 2020 to 10%.
Why Would This Happen?
According to sources, these moves were partly necessary as Oman is among the worst affected by the ongoing global oil-price war.
It is worth noting here that Wednesday’s order comes weeks after Sultan of Oman Haitham bin Tarik assured Prime Minister Narendra Modi that the salaries and well-being of the Indian community in Oman would be protected as the country dealt with the economic downturn which had resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic.
So far, Oman has been a strategic partner of India, and also a large number of local workers are from South Asia.
Further, the diplomatic sources said that the order was not connected with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic-related economic downturn in the Gulf.
The source familiar with Oman’s official policies said, “It has been a part of a long-drawn plan to create more job opportunities for the Omani youth who are educated and are looking for employment at home,”.
He also informed that the critical component of the decision was to show that Oman was determined to go ahead with the indigenization move.
Moreover, Oman has been part of India’s international consultations on the pandemic and on April 7, Mr. Modi spoke with the Sultan to discuss the challenges posed by the pandemic to both the countries.
Also, the ruler of Oman had thanked Mr. Modi for India’s support to Omani citizens who are affected by the ongoing lockdown.
Despite the war in neighboring country Yemen and tension among the GCC member-states, Oman has been a steady economy so far.