Sultan Qaboos of Oman orders jobs for 50,000 citizens

Reshuffle in Omani government

Parliamentary bodies in Oman praise Sultan’s directives, call for rational dialogue away from vandalism

Sultan Qaboos receives phone call from Saudi monarch

Sultan Qaboos Chair for Abrahamic Faiths launched in Cambridge

Finance ministry approves new agreements

Thousands of Omanis took out a procession in Muscat thanking His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said for accepting the popular demands of the people. They also deplored the vandalism and violence in Sohar and other parts of the Sultanate.

The Council of Ministers issued a statement on the steps being taken to implement the Royal directives for employing 50,000 jobseekers and granting 150 rials for jobseekers even as the Public Prosecution vowed to ensure justice for everybody.

The Council said the appointments would be made in government and private establishments from those who are registered with the Manpower Register till February 27, 2011.

The private sector has to cooperate with the efforts of the government for employing Omanis, it said.

The allocation of the grant will be effective from March 1 and the Ministry of Manpower will determine the rules in this regard, a statement said.

HE Sheikh Abdullah Bin Nasser Al Bakri, Minister of Manpower, said the employment generation process will be carried out according to a work program, which will include private and government institutions.

He said the ministry will provide jobs as per the capabilities and qualifications of the jobseekers, adding the ministry has started receiving applications from jobseekers.

The Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OCCI), hailing the Royal directives, said the private sector would bear its national responsibilities to maintain the achievements of the past four decades.

The OCCI said it is looking forward to working with the government to support development through commercial and investment projects and the absorption of national cadres in private sector companies.

In Muscat, people, who came from over the Sultanate after getting messages on their mobile phones and social networking sites, converged outside the Grand Mosque at 4pm and later took out a procession around the mosque, chanting nationalist and patriotic slogans in support of His Majesty.

They said the various reforms announced by His Majesty over a period of time have immensely benefited the people.

People carried banners which said: ‘Thank you Sultan for accepting our demands,’ ‘We are with you till the last drop of our blood’, ‘Sultan, we are proud of you,’ Sultan, there is no dispute and no trouble,’ ‘Our lives are for you,’ ‘We are proud of you year after year.’ They also thanked him for the reforms.

In Sohar, the civil teams formed by the citizens, continued to protect public and private property, showcasing the character of the Omani society.

The citizens provided the teams with food and urged them to stay on to guard the properties.

The sit-in at the Sohar Roundabout entered the fourth day as the demonstrators renewed demands for administrative and economic reforms, stressing they will continue the sit-in until their demands are met. Citizens of Sohar were able to convince them to allow the passage of dozens of trucks.

Some citizens tried to negotiate with the demonstrators urging them to vacate the Globe roundabout to restore traffic movement. People in the area called on the demonstrators to end the sit-in in the light of the reforms announced by His Majesty.

They also offered a big tent for the demonstrators near the roundabout with all essential facilities, but the demonstrators refused to leave the place. Some demonstrators refused to cooperate with the local media but allowed access to the foreign media.

The demonstrators at the Sohar port roundabout vacated the place after citizens urged them to facilitate traffic movement. The demonstrators then moved the sit-in to outside the road.

The situation is slowly returning to normalcy with many small shops reopening. But the big shops and malls are still closed.

The traffic has turned normal in some sub-roads and some parts of the main road. But the road from Sohar Main Roundabout to the Port Roundabout remained closed.

Demonstrators gathered outside the police station near the Globe Roundabout demanding the release of two arrested demonstrators. They dispersed after receiving confirmation of their release.

A demonstrator said 47 were arrested and transferred to Sumail prison. These people were released later, he said.

Loyalty marches were held in Al Dereez city in the wilayats of Ibri and Mahout.

In Mahout, HE Sheikh Ahmed Bin Mohammed Al Sheidy, Adviser of Ministry of Interior, and HE Sheikh Saif Bin Nasser Al Ghafri, Adviser for the Minister of Interior, met the citizens and listened to their demands.

In Muscat, traffic moved at a snail’s pace in and around Ruwi in the morning as Omani jobseekers thronged the Ministry of Manpower office to register their names.

Amnesty International has called upon the Omani authorities to respect the right of peaceful demonstration, an AFP report said.

Earlier, the Advocates Association called for talks to find solutions to the issues of the people and said the Basic Law of the State ensures freedom of expression through peaceful means.

The General Trade Union denounced the strikes and riots. The union, as a representative of all workers in the Sultanate, came down heavily on such wrong practices that were against the values and morals of Omanis and contradict their traditions and Islamic teachings.

In Yanqul, HE Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdullah Al Malik Al Shehi, Wali of Yanqul, listened to the demands of a group of 200 youngsters, who demonstrated in front of a hospital in the wilayat.

The demands included a double-lane Yanqul-Ibri road, rise in salary, exemption for the limited income families from paying the fees of registration of the granted land, construction of a health centre in the wilayat, setting up of a fund for marriage and opportunities for job seekers.

The wali of Yanqul said he met the directors of government departments, sheikhs and other dignitaries to discuss the developments.

His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said has issued seven Royal Decrees as follows:

Royal Decree No. 18/2011, establishing Sultan Qaboos Award for Culture, Arts, Literature and the formation of its board of trustee.

Article One: Establishes an award for culture, arts and literature in the name of Sultan Qaboos Award for Culture, Arts and Literature.

Article Two: The award’s board of trustees will be chaired by HE Dr. Ali Bin Mohammed Bin Moosa and have the membership of;

- The Information Minister – Deputy Chairman,

- The Secretary General of Sultan Qaboos Centre for Islamic Culture, Secretary,

- Dr. Waleed Mahmoud Khalis,

- Sheikh Ahmed Bin Abdullah Bin Salim Al Falahi,

- Musallam Bin Ahmed Bin Abdullah Al Kathiri,

- Dr. Zakariya Bin Khalifah Bin Darwish Al Mahrami,

Article Three: The Chairman of the Board shall issue the regulations and the decisions that regularize the award,

Article Four: The Decree comes into force from its date of issue.

Royal Decree No. 19/ 2011, amending some provisions of the Tender Law.

Article One: Introduces the attached amendments to the aforesaid Tender Law,

Article Two: Cancels all that contradicts with the decree or contravenes with its provisions,

Article Three: The decree takes effect the day following its date of publishing.

Royal Decree No. 20/2011, issuing first grade license to Sama Telecommunications LLC for the setting up and operation of a system to provide international general telecommunication services.

Article One: Issuing a first grade license for Sama Telecommunications LLC for the setting up and operation of a system to provide general international telecommunication services for 15 years as per the attached text,

Article Two: The Decree comes into force from its date of issue.

Royal Decree No. 21/2011, continuing the validity of the licenses of the foreign accounting and audit companies and exempting the owners of the Omani offices from the full-time condition.

Article One: The validity of the licenses of the foreign accounting and audit companies or the branches or the foreign offices operating in this field, issued before the date of the Royal Decree No. 53/96, will remain valid till 31.12.2011. These licenses may not be renewed after the expiry of this period, except if the renewal is made in accordance with the provisions of the law that organizing the said accounting and audit profession.

Article Two: The licensed Omani accounting and audit offices owners shall be exempted from the full-time condition stipulated in paragraph 1 of Article No. 3 of the said Accounting and Audit Profession Regularization Law, for a period that expires on 31.12.2011.

Article Three: The decree comes into force from January 1, 2011.

Royal Decree No. 22/ 2011, promoting a judge.

Article One: Promotes Amir Bin Sulaiman Bin Sarhan Al Mehirzi as a judge at the Supreme Court,

Article Two: The decree takes effect from its date of issue.

Royal Decree No. 23/2011, approving the surrender of Tethys Oil Limited for 20 per cent of its rights and obligations in the oil agreement signed on February 9, 2003 (Block 3 & 4) to Mitsui Limited.

Article One: Approves the surrender of Tethys Oil for 20 per cent of its rights and obligations in the oil agreement signed on February 9, 2003 (Block 3 & 4) to Mitsui Limited,

Article Two: The decree comes into force from its date of issue.

Royal Decree No. 24/2011, appointing non-resident Ambassador:

Article One: Appointing Yahya Bin Moosa Bin Issa Al Bakri, the Sultanate’s ambassador to the United Republic of Tanzania, as extraordinary, plenipotentiary non–resident ambassador to the Republic of Rwanda.

Article Two: The Decree comes into force from its date of issue.

HE Sheikh Ahmed Bin Mohammed Al Isa’ee, Chairman of the Shura Council hailed the decision of the Council of Ministers, which came at the directives of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said, for raising the minimum wages of the Omani workers in the private sector to 200 rials a month.

“This decision will have positive effect. In this context we, in the Shura Council are keen to translate this decision in a way that serves the existing and future workers in the private sector and for helping in raising their level of performance and handle the problems of the jobseekers,” he said.

Isa’ee was speaking at the sixth session of the fourth annual sitting of its sixth term during which it discussed the marches that were held recently. Expressing concern at the demands raised during the marches, the council discussed the solutions for the issues raised. The chairman has decided to submit a report, including the vision of the Shura Council about some of the urgent issues such as the issue of the jobseekers and continuous rise of prices.

Isa’ee said the Shura Council wanted workers, present and future, in the private sector to work hard for incentives and benefits. This will help in stabilizing the sector making it more productive.

The council urged citizens in the private sector to work with greater efforts for achieving more productivity, gaining experience, consolidating their skills and be committed to the regulations where they are working.

In its message to the Manpower Ministry, the council appreciated the ministry’s efforts to provide more job opportunities for the citizens.

Sultan Qaboos received a phone call from the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah Ibn Abdulaziz Al Saud.

During the call, they reviewed bilateral relations between the two countries and discussed the situation in the region.

Meanwhile, Her Excellency Dr. Rawiyah Bint Saud Al Busaidiyah, Minister of Higher Education, signed an agreement between the Government of the Sultanate and the University of Cambridge to formally establishing the Sultan Qaboos Bin Said Chair of Abrahamic Faiths and Shared Values at the University.

Rawiyah addressed a distinguished gathering at the inaugural ceremonies.

HH Taimour Bin Asa’ad Al Said, Assistant Secretary-General of The Research Council for International Relations; Professor Sir Leszek Krzysztof Borysiewicz, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, HE Habib Al Riyami, Secretary-General of the Sultan Qaboos Centre for Islamic Culture; HE Ali Bin Saud Al Bimani, Vice Chancellor of Sultan Qaboos University; Dr. Mohammed Al Ma’amari, Adviser to the Minister of Awqaf and Religious Affairs, officials and diplomats were present.

Rawiyah said the Sultan Qaboos Bin Said Chair for Abrahamic Faiths and Shared Values brings the number of academic chairs established by the Sultanate around the globe to a total of 15.

In addition to the Arabian Gulf, the Sultan Qaboos chairs are found in diverse countries on five continents - Asia, Australia, the United Kingdom, Europe, and North America. Nine of the His Majesty the Sultan’s chairs are for studies related to the Middle East and Arab and Muslim culture (Tokyo, Beijing, Georgetown (2), Melbourne, Oxford, Cambridge(2), and the University of Leiden in the Netherlands); two are assigned to Information Technology in Pakistan (The University of Engineering & Technology, Lahore; and the NED University of Engineering & Technology, Karachi); two are dedicated to Environmental concerns (Utrecht University in the Netherlands and The Arabian Gulf University in Bahrain); and another is for International Relations – at Harvard University.

Rawiyah explained the common goal and high intent of the academic endowments. “What unites these different areas of endeavor is that they are part of Oman’s highest mission to play a constructive role in the dialogue among civilizations, to promote cultural exchange and develop enduring ties of friendship and collaboration among nations for world harmony and peace.”

Rawiyah said in order to advance these noble aims, the Sultanate hopes to strengthen the University of Cambridge in its contribution to many areas of human knowledge through the promotion of and understanding of the three Abrahamic traditions; the study of these traditions in relation to each other; and, more broadly, in the light of the challenges posed by religious life in the 21st Century.

Rawiyah reminded the audience of the contributions of Arab and Muslim civilizations. “The Sultanate seeks to support the development of new knowledge in each of the fields in which Arabs of the past and present have made, or are making, major contributions. Oman also seeks to encourage the development of interdisciplinary research, study and teaching across this rich field of human understanding and endeavor.”

On the other hand, HE Nasser Bin Khamis Al Jashmi, Undersecretary at the Oil and Gas Ministry, inaugurated Masbat road and other roads in the wilayats of Sumail and Bidbid.

HE Salim Bin Mohammed Al Nuaimi, Undersecretary at the Transport and Communications Ministry, members of the State Council, Shura Council in the Al Dakhiliyah region and officials participated in the function.

Eng. Saif Bin Abdullah Al Sa’adi, Director-General of Roads and Land Transportation said that the road is 45km-long 7m wide, in addition to asphalt shoulders at width of 1.5m on each side. The road is equipped with traffic safety features, including protections, paints, signboard, warning signs and road cat eyes. This project will play a role in promoting tourism, economy and trade, in addition to raising the environmental awareness in the wilayat.

The chief guest unveiled the plaque of the project and said the road will be one of the developmental basics as an important infrastructure project being implemented by the government for serving the citizens by using it in transferring other services that directly related to the improvement of the citizen’s standard of living.