It is difficult to read between the lines in some newspaper stories in Oman as public criticism is rare (being both self-censored and possibly censored by law), however, I think that the piece below sheds light on what is going to happen over the next decade(s). It shares how the Sultan can use an address to communicate course of economy and society, i.e. like updating a 5-year plan.–kas
IF one would like to see the focus and clarity in the vision and awareness of the leader, he/she should at once listen to or read His Majesty the Sultan’s speech on the occasion of the annual session for the fifth term of the Council of Oman for 2012. Beautiful and articulate with intellectual content and sophisticated expression, the speech stimulates the mind of the reader and inspires a person to do the right thing for the country, the Sultanate of Oman.
Starting from the comments on the past development of infrastructure of the country and reflecting it on the present and projecting the aspirations and goals of the country into the future, the speech very well takes care of the overall ideology and a balanced approach for the development of this country both in its infrastructure (which His Majesty correctly pointed out is the basis of economic development in all fields/professions) and social and human development which has been taking place and which is the main area of focus for present and the future, ie, to enhance the much developed areas of education and training and to build the generation that have skills and knowledge to suit to the required goals and mission stated and narrated in the best interest of this country.
His Majesty stated that without the past emphasis on the development of the infrastructure, it would have been unrealistic to expect the social and human development in different regions of the Sultanate especially in the fields of education, health, training and employment.
Now, with infrastructure in its place and is being continuously developed as it is an ongoing process, the social and human development is reaching the cities, towns, villages ,plains and mountains and the deep valleys and deserts. This infrastructure was achieved despite the large and widespread area and challenging geographical terrain of the beautiful Oman, he explained.
He further stated that the Government is now planning to focus on the social development and this shall be achieved by creating the employment opportunities and training programmes and trying to increase the production capacity and also through cultural, scientific and intellectual development.
His Majesty’s comments on the role of private sector highlighted the critical issues that effectively pertain to inspiring the youth of Oman. His comments on the social responsibility of private sector are fascinating and based on reality in that the micro economy is surrounded by the macro economic factors and an organisation working around those factors have a duty towards the national interest of the country to make investments that create not only good returns but also create employment opportunities and to produce skilled labour.
Hence, the socially responsible private sector which has been developed in the past is now being further focused. The private sector is one of the basic pillars of development both from the economic point of view which is reflected in commerce, industry, agriculture, tourism, finance and economy in general and also from the social perspective represented by human resource development, training, enhancement of scientific and practical skills and in the creation of new employment opportunities and offering of the incentives to join the private sector, His Majesty added.
His Majesty further commented that the private sector have and shall continue create the positive attitude by taking practical and well-studied steps that contribute to their own benefits as well as benefiting the society and serving the national mission of the country.
This positive attitude, perceived by the youth, will inspire them to join the private sector and respect the work ethics and values.
The private sector is in fact the real source of employment in the long run. He gave a very good advice to the youth by stating that work or job is as much a duty as it is right and encouraged them to join the private sector and fulfil their goals and at the same time contribute towards the productivity of the economy by producing in their respective areas of work.
His Majesty’s comments on the role of private sector clearly show his deep thinking, his strong educational background and his knowledge on the growth of the economy. In most advance countries like the United States, UK, and so on, students are trained in universities to think of socially responsible business corporates/firms/organisations.
His Majesty gave a special attention and gave exclusive comments on the importance of education and emphasised the reality that the long term development of the country is a function of high standard of education and educational institutions.
After stating that in the past many educational systems have been tried and training programmes have been successfully implemented (there are now many colleges and universities all over the Sultanate also), he pointed that the current planning includes reviewing and revising the educational policies that would suit the required labour market and will fulfil the national goals of the country. This would include cultural and scientific development also. He further sated that all the educational departments should work in conjunction with council for education.
Toward the end of the speech, His Majesty commented on the national and international policies of the country. He stated that Oman has kept pace with the requirements of time and while having all the technological advancements, the country has maintained its traditions and values. The underlying idea of peace and harmony within the country as well as across the borders, internationally, is maintained. Being friendly on international grounds with other countries and working on the policy of non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries while being co-operative at the same time has earned Oman a reputation of respect and dignity.
His Majesty concluded the speech by appreciating all workers and expressing pride to them who have contributed to the growth of the country in all civil, military and security sectors.
Indeed, the speech is a guideline for all of us to contribute to the positive growth of this country.