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Qaboos fires 10 ministers

Ravindra Nath
Filed on March 9, 2011

MUSCAT - A third of Omanís cabinet was replaced by His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said on Monday to contain escalating dissent among citizens demanding reforms and better living conditions.

Ten ministers were given the marching orders and new faces brought in their places in the biggest single reshuffle of the Council of Ministers in the past 40 years. This is on top of another restructuring on Saturday in which two senior ministers were substituted by new faces.

The sultanate has a 30-member cabinet, including Deputy Prime Minister for the Council of Ministers Sayyid Fahad bin Mahmood Al Said. A new cabinet with younger ministers was one of the main conditions laid down by protesters to call off their stir that has rocked the country for 10 days now.

Those who lost their jobs on Monday included the highly influential Minister of National Economy Ahmed bin Abdulnabi Macki, who was also the Deputy Chairman of the powerful Financial Affairs and Energy Resources Council.

The National Economy Ministry was scrapped. A committee will be formed by the Council of Ministers to reallocate its functions and duties, assets and staff. Darwish bin Isma’eel bin Ali Al Balushi will take over at the newly created Ministry Responsible for Financial Affairs.

Interior Minister Sayyid Saud bin Ibrahim Al Busaidi is among the ousted ministers. He was replaced by former Civil Service minister Sayyid Hamoud bin Faisal bin Said Al Busaidi.

The new ministers are Ahmed bin Abdullah bin Mohammed Al Shuhi, Minister of Regional

Municipalities and Water Resources; Dr Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Salim Al Futaisi, Minister of Transport and Communications; Shaikh Khalid bin Omar bin Said Al Marhoon, Minister of Civil Service; Shaikh Sa’ad bin Mohammed bin Said Al Mardhouf Al Sa’adi, Minister of Commerce and Industry; Sayyid Saud bin Hilal bin Hamad Al Busaidi, State Minister and Governor of Muscat; Dr Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Said Al Saidi, Minister of Legal Affairs; Shaikh Abdulmalik bin Abdullah bin Ali Al Khalili, Minister of Tourism; Dr Fuad bin Ja’afar bin Mohammed Al Sajwani, Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries; Mohamamed bin Salim Said Al Toobi, Minister of Environment and Climate Affairs; and Minister of Social Development Shaikh Mohammed bin Said bin Saif Al Kalbani.

In Saturday’s changes, Sultan Qaboos had appointed two new ministers — Sayyid Ali bin Hamoud Al Busaidi as Minister of Diwan of Royal Court and Lieutenant-General Sultan bin Mohammed Al Nu’amani as Minister of Royal Office. They replaced Sayyid Ali bin Hamoud Al Busaidi and General Ali bin Majid Al Ma’amari.

A week before that, in the first reshuffle since the unrest began, the Omani monarch had made several changes in the cabinet, including inducting a new minister of commerce and industry. None of them figures in the new cabinet.

Deputy Prime Minister for the Council of Ministers Sayyid Fahad bin Mahmood Al Said retains his position.

So do Heritage and Culture Minister Sayyid Haitham bin Tareq Al Said; Minister Responsible for Defence Affairs Sayyid Badr bin Saud bin Hareb; Minister Responsible for Foreign Affairs Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdallah; Justice Minister Shaikh Mohammed bin Abdullah bin Zaher Al Hinai; Avqaf and Religious Affairs Minister Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Salmi; Oil and Gas Minister Dr Mohammed bin Hamad Rumhy; and Information Minister Hamad bin Mohammed Al Rashidi.

Also retained were Minister of Higher Education Dr Rawya bint Saud bin Ahmed Al Busaidiyah; Sports Affairs Minister Ali bin Masoud Al Sunaidi; Minister of Housing Shaikh Saif bin Mohammed Saif Al Shabibi; and Minister of Manpower Shaikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Abdullah Al Bakri.

Shaikh Mohammed bin Ali Al Ma’amari will continue as the Minister of State and Governor of Dhofar.

ravindranath@khaleejtimes.com


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