The situation reflects the tremendous importance of job creation to the medium-long term stability of Oman. This is why so many state subsidies are being used to generate new industrial centres (eg Sohar, Salalah), the multitude of tourism plans, and the various other things the Government are trying to do. They know the demographic wave (remember half of Oman's population is under 18) is coming.
I like the way the report basically says the local Wali and ROP guys (who wouldn't be able to take on 100+ youth on their own) seemed to say "OK lads. Fair point. Now stop blocking the road and come down to the walli's office for a chat. I'm sure we'll work something out." Quaint.
There certainly isn't much else to do in Duqm except a bit of fishing and raising goats. Its half-way between Muscat and Salalah, and at least it's by the coast. It is a really beautiful place, and while the development in some ways is a shame, you can't eat landscape, and there's a LOT of landscape in and around Duqm.
Whether the youths will be happy to hump rocks at the wages given to expat labourers is something else, but probably they wouldn't need too much more given their options.
Again, I say establishing a mechanism of some kind to make it more attractive to hire Omani for low-skilled jobs in contruction is required. Minimum wage (for all, not Omani), bigger tax on expat visas for certain jobs, higher standards of construction that rely on more machinery and less guys with shovels... But meanwhile its great to see people taking peaceful action to try to improve their lot.
Anyone got more details on what's happening? Pictures? I hope they didn't wait until winter on purpose! Lugging rocks in summer doesn't sound like much fun.
Times of Oman article
Omani youths stage protest in Duqm
Rashid bin Ahmed Al Baloushi
Monday, October 27, 2008
DUQM — Around 100 Omani youths from the wilayat of Duqm staged a sit-in here yesterday protesting against a company involved in the construction of a dry dock and seaport here not giving jobs to the local citizens.
The protesters blocked the trucks carrying rocks to the seaside causing traffic jams for hours. They demanded of the company give preference to the local citizens in its recruitments.
The protesters said that their job applications had been pending with the company for more than a year and-a-half.
A source at the Royal Oman Police said the Ministry of Interior, represented by the Wali’s Office in Duqm, had asked the protesters to meet the officials concerned in the Wali’s Office and assured them of suitable action on their demands.