At the service of Omani citizens
The welfare of citizens has always been the priority of the Omani Authorities Since the early 1970’s, the Sultan has drafted numerous plans and policies to ensure that they get the best of everything. Hence the order issued by Deputy Prime Minister for the Council of Ministers, Sayyid Fahd Bin Mahmoud Al Said, in the context of a number of issues that benefit citizens must be seen as being in line with the Sultan’s keenness to improve the lives of citizens. One clause in Fahd’s order stipulates that those with an income of less than 300 rials a month will be exempted from paying for residential plots granted to them.
This will certainly help many citizens eager to have their own land but cannot afford the expenses. This order also invalidates the rule which bans land transactions through sale, donation or mortgage before two years from the time of getting the title deed. Yet another clause in the order stipulates that the disabled, like social insurance families, will be exempted from all due fees on entitled government lands.
Additionally the order states that the fees for government land given to retirees from the public and private sector will be reduced by 50 per cent if their income is more than 300 rials. Other clauses in the order will also immensely benefit a large number of people who urgently needed comfort from the daily rigours of life.
Fahd’s order, like the many Royal Directives issued in recent weeks, is to ensure equality among the citizens and their emancipation. The Royal Directive provides jobs to 50,000 Omanis in the public and private sector has had enormous response. More than 33,000 Omanis have found jobs already. And there is little doubt that in the next few weeks more than 50,000 youth will be holding responsible position in the public and private sectors. Of course, many are preferring jobs in the public sector. So, it is the duty of the private sector to draw qualified youth by offering them jobs with attractive salaries and perks so that the pressure on the public sector is lessened.
Another important development is the setting up of citizens’ service departments in ministries and government departments. This will certainly help the government understand the problems of citizens and find remedies. Of course, in this way government-citizen cooperation will thus be strengthened. In the bargain the nation will benefit. The welfare of citizens is being given maximum priority by the government as they are the pillars of the nation. The nation’s future rests entirely on their shoulders. The nations’ strength depends on the diligence of its citizens.
The Sultanate’s strategy for comprehensive development is long-term. But the fact is that all the development plans, both in the industrial and agricultural sector, are being clearly blueprinted with the correct focus. It is in this regard that Dr. Fuad Bin Jaafar Al Sajwani, Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, announced moves to implement 200 projects to develop agriculture, animal husbandry and fishing in the coming years. The projects will include fish farming, cultivation of coral reefs, introduction of modern irrigation systems and use of solar energy. Fish farming may get priority as, according to Al Sajwani, there is enough fish in the Sultanate’s waters and since fishing is crucial for the economy, all efforts will be taken to protect the interests of Omani fishermen. The ban on trawling on the Sultanate’s shores must be seen in this context.
Oman has been streamlining the gradual process of development in the best interests of the people. While ample focus was given to the oil sector, the non-oil sector was not given less importance. The government believed that long-term development depended to a great extent on the both the oil and non-oil sectors. Hence, industries of various types were set up. Even ship repairing and maintenance were given importance. Al Duqm port, with ship repair and maintenance facilities, is an example. Sohar is an example to cite the importance given to both oil and non-oil-based industries.
Such a comprehensive development strategy was also necessary to provide employment to the large number of Omani youth graduating every year from the numerous schools, universities, colleges and technical institutions, which were set up in every nook and cranny of the country at a cost of many millions of rials. And this reflects the stress given to education with the aim of strengthening the backbone of the nation, which someday soon will have to shed a bulk of the expatriate workforce.
The Sultanate has come a long way in the last four decades. And it still has to go a long way on the road to progress and prosperity. Many steps are being taken at a rapid pace in that direction. The raft is part of the development strategy of reforms, initiated in recent weeks, is part of the development strategy. Plans to provide jobs to 50,000 youth in a number of sectors, when fully implemented, will give a major impetus to the economy and also ensure that the future of nation is in safe hands. In the final analysis, the nation is for the people who, in turn, are the nation’s limbs.
Greater transparency and responsibility are what government functionaries have been entrusted with as the Sultanate continues on its steadfast march to progress and modernity. Hence, it is in this context that recent coordination meeting between the Council of Ministers and Shura Council is to be viewed. The meeting followed Royal Directives to improve cooperation between various institutions of the state, which is essential for providing better service to citizens and the country.
The Sultanate has made tremendous progress in all sectors of the economy; its policies have brought peace and prosperity to the nation. Government is tasked with guarding and consolidating the country’s gains for the present and future generations. In this regard the various state institutions have a major role to play, and for which there needs to be greater understanding on all relevant issues and cooperation between them.
Deputy Prime Minister for the Council of Ministers, Sayyid Fahd Bin Mahmoud Al Said, and, the Chairman of the Shura Council, Sheikh Ahmed Bin Mohammed Al Isa’ee, were among other members present at the meeting. Fahd referred to the comprehensive development which is being witnessed in the Sultanate and reiterated the government’s keenness to develop the country so that the needs of each stage of the continuous and pragmatic development. Fahd also told members that the Royal Directives granting legislative and audit powers to the Council of Oman gives everyone a role in the country’s future and progress.
He emphasized the importance of the role being played by the Shura Council in supporting development in the country. While the coordination meeting discussed all aspects that should be evaluated and developed in order to give a swift signal to socio-economic development in the country, what needs to be stressed here is the sincere determination expressed at the meeting to meet the challenges and fulfil the aims and aspirations of the people.