Thousands apply for jobs in Oman

(Our Correspondent)
Filed on March 9, 2011

MUSCAT - The public and private sectors, police and armed forces have come together in a countrywide effort to hire citizens following last week’s directive by the ruler to provide jobs to 50,000 nationals.

Aspirants have been pouring into recruitment centres specially set up by the Manpower Ministry, the Royal Oman Police (ROP) and other organisations in different regions of the country.

His Majesty aSultan Qaboos bin Said ordered the employment drive in response to countrywide protests by citizens demanding, among other things, more jobs and better living conditions.

The demonstrations, marches and sit-ins, meanwhile, continued unabated in Muscat, Sohar, Salalah, Sur and many other cities and towns across the country on Monday.

The dissenters say they will not budge until extensive political and economic reforms are carried out by the government.

The Ministry of Manpower said 35,000 people would be given jobs in the government, while the remaining 15,000 will be absorbed by private establishments.

The ROP announcement that it would hire 10,000 citizens, men and women, has generated a great deal of interest among jobseekers encouraged by the prospect of good salaries and facilities. Thousands turned up at ROP’s hiring centres in Muscat and elsewhere to register.

Key police officials said in the first phase only men would be registered, while women could apply in the second stage.

They added that applicants who met all the terms and qualifications specified would be called for tests and interviews. The goal, the officials said, was to offer jobs to most of the candidates, if not all.

On Sunday, the ROP began its campaign with the launch of training for 500 new recruits at the Sultan Qaboos Academy for Police Sciences in Nizwa in the interior Dhakhliya region.

The Manpower Ministry, in the meantime, has found employment for more than 2,100 people in private companies since the beginning of the week.

The Royal Army of Oman (RAO) has joined in with its own initiative to hire citizens in the military, kicked off with advertisements in newspapers on Sunday.

“This comes within the efforts undertaken by the Defence Ministry and Sultan’s Armed Forces to conscribe and employ citizens who desire to join the military in implementation of the royal orders of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said for the employment of 50,000 citizens,” a spokesman said.

Top telecom companies, Omantel and Nawras, said they would soon be recruiting 350 people in technical and administrative positions.

Majority state-owned Omantel will take in 200 and Nawras 150. The candidates will be chosen from lists sent by the

Manpower Ministry, officials of the two companies said.

The country’s top oil and gas explorer and producer, Petroleum Development Oman (PDO), has called a meeting on Tuesday of top officials of its contracting companies to discuss job possibilities for nationals. Some 100 firms are expected to attend.

Peaceful protests continued outside the Majlis Ash’shura premises in Seeb, Muscat, and all over the country on Monday.

At the Globe Roundabout in Sohar, the agitators were still blocking the main roads, but otherwise the situation was calm.

At the Majlis, the number of dissenters is rising every day, and they have been organising seminars and speeches in the evenings with noted writers and scholars taking part.

And taking cue from the public protests, employees of a number of companies and government departments have launched their own stir to press for higher wages and terms.

Some 100 staff of national carrier Oman Air staged a peaceful demonstration at the Muscat International Airport on Sunday demanding better salaries and working conditions. CEO Peter Hill met them and promised the company’s response within 48 hours.

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