Tuesday, April 15, 2008

News update: Cement and No Tibet please, we're Omani

More so-called updates on Oman's continuing battle against raising inflation lately, and a burning stick passes through Oman.

The Government will import 100,000 tonnes of cement from Pakistan, as reported in The Tribune . 'Course, this is less than 2 weeks worth of internal cement production, so hardly a huge effect would be expected. Although not stressed in the article, it seems pretty clear that Government is now effectively going to nationalise almost the entire distribution system of cement in Oman. I'm not a big fan of Government's running businesses as they are usually so very very bad at it. Just look at Omantel.

Related to the cement is the recent imprisonment of people Court sends price manipulators behind bars . What's interesting is the article never actually says what they were selling, or what they actually did that broke the law. I can only presume it was those 'Asians' recently caught selling cement at 3 rials a bag.

The powerful Majlis announced they had found time in their busy schedules to talk a lot about Inflation though. (an excellent and traditional Government appoach to problems here), as reported in the almost totally information-free Times Of Oman Majlis panel discusses steps against inflation .

Free Tibet Rally Peaceful
Meanwhile, the Free Tibet rally, oops sorry, the Olympic Torch Parade passed off without incident, naturally. Sultanate celebrates Olympic spirit
Anyone around the route would have noticed the quite incredible security presence, there to make sure any protesters fool-hardy enough to turn up in support of the occupied country of Tibet could be given a dose of what the Chinese Government has been giving the protesting Bhuddist monks lately. I don't think anyone did.

The reception crowd of dignitaries were however, all given a briefing note of instructions that told them explicitly, if interviewed by the press, to say nothing what-so-ever about Tibet.

It was, quite rightly, seen as a diplomatic gesture of favour upon Oman by the Chinese, who do, after all, buy the majority of Oman's oil production. Oman is in no position to play around with China by allowing nasty protestors. Although I'm not sure there would have been any protests anyhow, to tell the truth. I don't think many Omani know anything at all about Tibet or its history, nor would they feel it was worth embarassing their guests with such things. It would not be at all polite.


  1. What would be a punishment of a protester in an event like this? What if he/she was not Omani? deportation?

  2. surely omantel cant be doing that badly if their employees are getting such obsurdly generous bonuses every few months

  3. Ali, Good question, and as far as I know one that will remain hypothetical. Any actual protesting 'leaping into the path of the pressession' etc I presume would be a fast trip to Seeb for an expat., possibly via some questioning by Internal Security. But I must admit I was curious what would happen if someone had peacefully worn a T-Shirt with Free Tibet on it, or a nice picture of the Dhalai Llama... Hard to imagine that that would be considered illegal.

    Anon. Omantel are doing 'great' from that side of the equation because they have a monopoly on international calls, block access to VOIP, the Government boosted their revenue by reducing the royalty, and most people can't be bothered to switch mobiles to Nawras. Oh, and Nawras is forced to route through Omantel servers anyhow at a huge price. Compared to a real company, or more open comeptiton, their performance and customer service is total crap. Tried getting an ADSL lately?


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