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Oman to Tackle Unemployment Problem with Money from Oil Windfall Profits

An unnamed source has revealed that in response to a windfall in oil revenue in Oman over the past six months the Sultanate has decided to spend about $1 billion in additional monies to create jobs for its citizens over the coming year.

"We had a very good income from oil revenues in the first six months of the year," an official from Oman’s planning department told the press. "Not only do we expect to comfortably balance the budget, but we will use $1 billion of that windfall to create jobs in the next 12 months from September."

The official did not detail any specifics of the plan, such as how the money will be spent or whether the jobs will be concentrated in the public or private sector, or both.

Oman, which is not associated with OPEC, revealed at the beginning of August that the government collected 35 percent more in revenue than over the same time last year. The take for the first six months reached $19.1 billion due to the influence of surging oil prices and increased production.

The increase in revenue resulted in a bulge in the government’s budget surplus amounting to 1.61 billion rials, which was four times the surplus of the preceding year.

There is an unemployment problem in Oman which the Sultanate would like to address. According to the manpower ministry there are about 22,000 Omani citizens who are in search of jobs, out of a total of 2 million of employable Omanis.

"About 15,000 graduates are looking for jobs this summer and the rest, from that figure of 22,000, are a backlog of jobless who have not found jobs since the beginning of the year," the official from the manpower ministry said.

The International Monetary Fund, using census data taken in 2010, has estimated the unemployment rate in Oman to be about 24.4 percent. According the IMF Oman will need to create 45,000 new private sector jobs per year to absorb all the new workers emerging each year, and to lower the unemployment rate to a reasonable amount. The IMF admitted that it could also be possible that the number it used for its unemployment figure may also include people who are not looking for jobs.

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