Viewpoint: Qaboos bin Said Al Said

As Oman enters its 48th year of renaissance, we hope to see its sustained development continue. In recent years we have witnessed, through the implementation of various plans and programmes, the accomplishment of those goals which we have had our sights set on since the dawn of our new era. These achievements are inspired by our fundamental principles: the development of Oman’s richly abundant supply of human and natural resources; the building of infrastructure; and the establishment of the state’s institutions.

We affirm the need to further diversify our sources of national income. Indeed, it is important to look into harnessing alternative energy sources and finding food security. Oil is a finite resource, therefore it is important that we do not solely depend on it to finance development. We have stressed this truth from the beginning, and our efforts have been very successful. However, oil is still our main resource, and the fluctuation of its price is of great concern. It is essential to diversify the sources of our national income more widely, in order to make oil revenues only a minor element of this income. This leads us to call upon citizens to save, invest, pursue business interests, develop industry, tourism and agriculture, and utilise mineral resources, fisheries, livestock and other sources of revenue.

To date, we have been very pleased with the private sector’s progress in providing job opportunities for citizens and welcome efforts to intensify its employment initiatives. The private sector is one of the basic pillars of development, both economically and socially. The construction, economic, commercial and industrial projects established in the Sultanate have absorbed many national workers, and the private sector has demonstrated its cooperation in shouldering responsibility, as it assumed a valuable role in working with the government and boosting sustainable development efforts. We look forward to the private sector playing an even greater role, especially in advancing human resources and offering employment opportunities.

It is unjust that some citizens perceive the private sector as being reliant on what the state offers without contributing to the service of society and social institutions or programmes, or assume that the private sector seeks only to achieve profit without helping people, the environment or the country. Fallacies such as these will harm not only the future of the private sector, but also development plans in the country, particularly those concerning the diversification of income sources. Therefore, the private sector must work harder to counteract these misconceptions with efficient and practical measures, such as increasing contributions to altruistic developments and working more closely with the government and civil society institutions on policies that offer social services. Taking on a positive attitude can enhance the confidence and appreciation of citizens for the private sector’s role. It will encourage the Omani youth to work in the sector and instil a spirit of belonging to institutions. This will in turn positively influence their performance and work ethic, which will additionally contribute to productivity.

Our youth must remember that work is as much a right as it is a duty. Everyone who has completed their education or training should take up a useful profession that fulfils their sense of being, and through this one can achieve their ambitions, rather than wait for a government job. The state, with all its civil, security and military institutions, cannot continue to be the main source of employment, as the state cannot sustain this forever. Citizens have to understand that the private sector is the real source of employment in the long run.

While we commend the government’s recent performance, we also emphasise the need for constant revision of administrative systems. This will ensure that the best procedures are followed, thus expediting the decision-making process. The government administrative system must cooperate with the private sector and not let bureaucracy or routine hinder its good performance; in this way, we will be able to reach our goals.