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Saturday , March 25 2023

‘Forbearing’ Omanis deserve the very best

This post has been read 21643 times!

THERE is no doubt that the decisions announced by Sultan Haitham bin Tariq to address the causes for the emergence of some rare protests in the Sultanate of Oman are a clear indication of the close relations between the leadership and its people, as well as the sheer ability of the leadership’s efforts to meet in the middle of the road to solve its problems, especially the ruler’s decision to provide 32,000 job opportunities for the unemployed.

Omanis are known for their calmness and forbearance, and their ability to work and persevere. This emerged in the past decades when they worked to implement the visions of the late Sultan Qaboos bin Said, who in 1970 took over a country that was living in the Middle Ages and turned the Sultanate into a Gulf jewel and a global touristic destination.

I remember when Cyclone Gonu hit the Sultanate of Oman in 2007, I met the late Sultan Qaboos and told him, “All the people of the region love your country. Your relations with the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council are good such that they are ready to help and support”.

He said, “Omanis are able to manage their affairs and reform what the cyclone ravaged”. That was an indication of his confidence in the capabilities of his people, and his belief that whoever moves the state from one phase to another will definitely go through challenging times.

We are witnessing the fact that the Omanis are forbearing and persevering. However, the global economic developments have cast negative shadows on these people, like in the rest of the world. Because Oman, like the other Gulf countries, relies largely on its oil income, the low oil prices have generated some financial difficulties. Nevertheless, there have always been solutions.

The leadership is equitable … Here I recall how the late Sultan Qaboos had ordered the creation of 50,000 jobs and implementation of comprehensive reforms following the protests in Oman in 2011, which led to the absorption of popular anger at that time.

There is no doubt that the economic situation, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, has led to new difficulties, as is the case in other countries of the world.

However, according to observers, this can be resolved radically through a series of strategic measures, foremost of which is the opening of all economic sectors and the strengthening of the government’s support for the private sector by facilitating local, Gulf, Arab and foreign investments to create great job opportunities, and facilitating Gulf and Arab ownership of investments, similar to what the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain did.

Oman has several characteristics that support the demand for investment in it, such as the willingness of the people to accept any work, the geographical area, and the nature that qualifies Oman to be one of the advanced industrial, agricultural and touristic countries in the region.

In the current era, everyone, especially in the GCC countries, is convinced that Gulf food security is a strategic necessity, and commercial and industrial exchange among the GCC states is an influential factor even at the regional level. Therefore, investment openness has become an urgent necessity.

Subsequently, as the countries are exacting efforts to anticipate crises and because Omani society is considered as young (46 percent) and educated (0.7 percent illiteracy rate), the unemployment rate will increase in the coming years with more graduates and job seekers. Therefore the causes of this phenomenon can only be addressed by attracting more Omani and non-Omani investments.

May Almighty Allah protect the Sultanate of Oman, and guide the efforts of its ruler towards greater stability. The people of Oman deserve the best of everything.

By Ahmed Al-Jarallah

Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times

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