H.M the Sultan Qaboos Meets Sheikhs and Dignitaries of A'Dakhiliyah and Al Wusta Governorates
Bahla, Jan 27 (ONA)---His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said met with the sheikhs and dignitaries of the wilayats of the A' Dakhiliyah and the Al Wusta Governorates in the Royal Camp at Saih Al Shamikhat in the wilayat of Bahla of the A'Dakhiliyah Governorate within the context of His Majesty's meet-the-people tour in the country.
The meeting comes in continuation of the norms set by His Majesty the Sultan since the dawn of the Blessed Renaissance and deepening the continued communication between His Majesty and sons of Oman across the country.
His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said started his conversation with the attendees by saying '' No doubt that it is our pleasure to meet with you today on the land of Bahla, which is known for its rich history and being one of the most important Omani cities that is abundant with traditional crafts and heritage, all Omanis know and are proud of''.
His Majesty added '' In this regard, the wilayat of Bahla, which has this great history is also the incubator for the traditional crafts and good heritage. We would like to tell you that we have decided to set up a college here in the wilayat of Bahla that will be named ' Ajyal College".
''In this regard, the College will play a role in rehabilitating Omani males and females in the field of traditional crafts industries in a bid to revive and develop them. I believe that the output will be 200 persons at the initial stage, later expected to extend to 800 persons during the coming four years.
H.M. the Sultan Meets Sheikhs and Dignitaries of A'Dakhiliyah and Al Wusta Governorates …….. Part-2
While speaking to Sheikhs and dignitaries of the A'Dakhiliyah and the Al Wusta Governorates, H.M. the Sultan said ' the other thing we want to say and we want Omanis to be aware of during this meeting with you is that during the past years there has been a number of sources for supporting youths and helping them set up their ventures, the most notable of which is ' Sanad' Program, which has carried out its duty really for many years now. There are also other sources at different governmental departments as well.
His Majesty added in this context 'We have decided to combine these sources under a Fund called ' Al Rafd' that will have a certain job. This Al Rafd Fund will be made to help the male and female youths develop their SMEs projects.
His Majesty the Sultan also explained that Al Rafd Fund will have a great role adding ' We have decided to make the initial capital of the Fund RO. 70 million that will be increased by RO. 7 million each year. Hopefully this Fund will bring prosperity to our sons and daughters'.
His Majesty highlighted the outcomes of the SMEs Symposium which was held at Saih Al Shamikhat and said that for the first time, it came out with decisions and not recommendations as it has been the case before. Some of the recommendations were adopted and others were not. From now on, the symposiums will come out with decisions and not recommendations. This is the first time to hold a symposium to come out with decisions, which have been good.
They include 14 binding decisions and not only decisions for which measures will be taken. They are also limited to certain time frames and some of them immediate while others may be adopted next year or the years after.
His Majesty also said ' Among the important and pending decision which the Symposium came up with is the industrial or commercial or agricultural lands that will be allocated for project owners or used by them. I believe that this will provide resources for the male and female youths and encourage them to be involved in project that will bring benefit to them.
'Some years ago, the trend was to distribute land plots on low-income families to benefit from them. But now, the lands will be for long term utilization and we pray to Allah that our male and female youths show interest in these different fields, His Majesty continued.
His Majesty spoke about the hidden trade and said ' we should keep away from the hidden trade as it is not in the interest of our sons and daughters and not even in the interest of adults. The last period has proved that this hidden trade harms the Omani economy and therefore we should be aware of the loss it creates and give it our concern'.
As for the expatriates' money transfers, His Majesty pointed out that ' billions of Riyals are transferred each year. The government and all segments of society should carry out their duties to put an end to this hidden trade.
His Majesty also added 'hidden trade cause great damage to the Omani economy, thus it decreases the available suitable job opportunities for our sons and daughters. His Majesty affirmed that ' hidden trade has become categorically unacceptable.
His Majesty the Sultan said that the expatriate labor has increased more than it should have been. At a certain point of time we decided to make a reasonable certain ratio for expatriates in the Sultanate. His Majesty pointed out that we need the expatriates now and in the future and that each country has expatriate workers even the big industrial countries depend on expatriate's in some issues and certain areas.
'The ratio we considered was always between 30 to 33% of the population at the current time. At present no doubt that the expatriates number has increased greatly but in some aspects they are temporary justified, such as some major projects, thanks be to Allah, being witnessed by the country like the underway projects in A' Duqm and other places and the upcoming railways project. The expatriates are required because the domestic workers still prefer certain jobs. Inshallah, the Omani manpower will be present in all professions and projects, His Majesty added.
His Majesty the Sultan also added that he gave his royal directives to the government and the Council of Oman, which undoubtedly will support the government in this respect and develop a time frame to return to the statutory or required ratio.
H.M. the Sultan Meets Sheikhs and Dignitaries of A'Dakhiliyah……Part-3
His Majesty the Sultan pointed out in his talk with the sheikhs and dignitaries of the A'Dakhiliyah and the Al Wusta Governorates that while the expatriate manpower is a burden on the State security organizations and cost the state in a way, it is non-beneficial in any case. Alongside with combatting the almost daily infiltration from other parts through boats, these issues should be addressed with patience and they do not do anything that may annoy the countries where these groups come from and infiltrate into the country. Combatting this phenomenon is tiresome job but inevitable. The respective organizations will continue combatting this phenomenon.
His Majesty added that the other side which we talked about is the manpower requested by citizens. We should put a limit to this and there will be decisions and measures to limit this because it is time to take decisive action.
His Majesty affirmed that the country will not grow except with the growth of its economy. His Majesty also pointed out that the economy has become the product of its sons and daughters.
His Majesty said ' the funds that come to the state treasury are collected from company income taxes and not from personal income although many advanced industrial countries collect taxes on personal income. They give from one side and take from the other.
His Majesty added ' the company income tax is only of certain size, thus the government used to support the companies to expand to achieve two main goals namely to absorb more national manpower and increase their capitals, because the more the capital is, the more the income tax is. This serves the interest of the nation and citizen.
His Majesty the Sultan added 'I sometimes wonder that some requests forwarded by some people, they do not think where the funds will come from to build this road or hospital or school. This is in the government plans, the funds, the national income it has, and undoubtedly is doing this in a proper manner, however things have to have plans and programmes, over and above all, we exceeded the plans and on many occasions guide to add more projects which we deem important or we receive demands for them and be convinced of their importance'.
H.M. the Sultan added ' If we look at the road network in the Sultanate, we will find that it costs very high due to the geography of the Sultanate. Despite this we allocate the funds to build these roads as they benefit the citizen. We should be patient because nothing is done overnight.
His Majesty affirmed that development will continue no matter what the circumstances are and that everything will be planned. The Supreme Council of Planning will play its role properly because it is directly under our supervision. We will study the issues and see how far development has reached. Is it to a satisfactory level or yet below this satisfactory level. We should focus on the weaker side before adding to the stronger side. This should be clear for every one of us.
His Majesty said that the national economy for any country is built on the SMEs. This is the base for all national economies. His Majesty affirmed that the major industries started humble and then grew to become major industries in various parts of the world in different fields.
H.M. the Sultan Meets Sheikhs and Dignitaries of A'Dakhiliyah……Part-4
His Majesty pointed out that the industries needed large number of manpower in the past. At the same time, the wages were humble. But now major projects do not require large number of manpower due to modern technology. These industries are associated with other downstream industries which may not be visible.
His Majesty said that these industries and other resources are pillars of the national economy. Here comes the great role for our sons and daughters from now on.
His Majesty added ' I was pleased when I was watching T.V. at the end of the Symposium which we blessed when the youth said that the ball is now in our court. His Majesty pointed out that the youths felt that they have everything that may help and support them and that more will be availed in the future if they proved their efficiency.
His Majesty concluded his talk to citizens at Saih Al Shamikhat by saying ' the Omani is interested in the sea since ages either in his travels or depending on it as a source of living - fish. This is an important fact. We should preserve and develop this wealth which is an important part of the national economy.
Sayyid Khalid bin Hilal al-Busaidi, Minister of the Diwan of the Royal Court said, during the meeting of His Majesty, that the Al Ajial College for Craft Sciences and Industries and traditional Professions will be established by Royal Orders from His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said and that this College will seek to advance this important sector due to the potentials enjoyed by the Sultanate's Governorates in the field of craft and traditional industries.
He added that the College will offer 14 majors, including pottery and copper industries and manufacturing of tools which are used in other occupations, such as blacksmith and minerals sector, and the college will be based in the Wilayat of Bahla over 1.3 to 1.5 million square meters.
He said that that the College will have branches in various Wilayats of the Sultanate, each Wilayat by craft or profession that's famous for, for example craft of leather tanning in Dhofar Governorate and textiles in the Wilayat of Sumail.
He added that the College will address these professions in an advanced manner by giving scientific certificates up to the level of Bachelor and diploma and its inputs will be from the general diploma graduates, later they will be provided with financial support so that this college graduate will be a job maker and not a jobseeker, so he can hire other people in his region and there will be no job seekers for that there will be other frameworks that support them in order to proceed with their work in this aspect, and modern technologies, modern knowledge and science will be used to the advancement of an industry that would be competitive with other industries in the world.
On the Al Rafd Fund, Sayyid Khalid bin Hilal al-Busaidi, said that the Al Rafd Fund will bring together the existing funds, including 'Sanad' Fund for supporting the small and medium-sized enterprises, Livelihood Development Programme, supervised by the Ministry of Social Development and Fisheries Fund, under the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries and Youth Fund and the Fund for Rural Women.
He added that these funds will be all put under the Al Rafd Fund, and 'Sanad' Programme will continue as it is but under the umbrella of the Al Rafd Fund and it will work within the programme of the new Al Rafd Fund, and this Fund will be targeting at the beginning the groups subject to social security, as well as for rural women, professionals and craftsmen, in addition to other categories, such as categories of entrepreneurs and small and medium-sized enterprises.
He also said that this Fund will have a great link to an important decision taken by the Symposium on the development of small and medium-sized enterprises, stressing that His Majesty the Sultan has approved the decision on the establishment of an institution for SME development and there will be an important link so that the institution will provide advice and financial, administrative and technical support for the small sized enterprises and this Fund will be supporting these institutions.
On his turn, Dr. Fu'ad bin Ja'afar al-Sajwani, Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries said, during His Majesty's meeting, that by Allah assistance and a generous support from His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said, a strategic plan was developed for the fisheries, which is considered the largest one in the history of the Sultanate.
Dr. Al-Sajwani pointed out that more than (RO. 500) million was allocated for the plan to develop this sector, which includes developing all requirements of this activity, starting from building a fishing fleet of boats and ships till a system of ports and facilities for landing, as well as fish factories and markets till delivering fish to the consumer inside the country and abroad.
The Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries further said that the focus was on the added value for the fisheries and benefiting from the relative privilege as the Sultanate overlooking about (3165 Km) of long coasts.
He hoped that the fish production would increase from (160,000) ton in 2012 to about (460,000) ton in 2020 through natural traps and aquaculture, pointing out that there are promising opportunities in this field.
After His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said delivered His Royal Speech, he listened, in an open dialogue, to the needs of citizens and requirements of their wilayats in relation to various developmental aspects. His Majesty affirmed the continuation of the comprehensive development across the country to achieve welfare and prosperity for the Omani citizen.
His Majesty the Sultan issued his Royal Directives to the ministers to follow up requirements of the citizens, each in his scope of jurisdiction.
The meeting was attended, along with His Majesty the Sultan, by a number of ministers, advisors, governors and walis of the Governorates of the A'Dakhiliyah and the Al Wusta.