As Oman’s expat population falls, so does unemployment among locals

The expat visa ban was first introduced for six months in January 2018, but was extended later in the year. (File/Shutterstock)
Updated 05 December 2018
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As Oman’s expat population falls, so does unemployment among locals

  • Oman's expat labor force drops by more than 3% and visa ban continues
  • The largest decline in unemployment is among Oman's young

DUBAI: Unemployment among Oman’s local population has dropped since the introduction of the expat visa ban and its subsequent extensions, national daily Times of Oman reported.

There has been a 3.4 percent reduction in the expat labor force between October 2017 and 2018, with the biggest drops in the manufacturing, engineering, industrial, financial, mining and construction sectors.

The biggest decline in unemployment was for Omani citizens aged 25 to 29 where there was a drop of 13.6 percent over the last month, according to the National Center for Statistics and Information.

Meanwhile the unemployment rate for Omanis aged 30 to 34 dropped by 11 percent for, and by 7.1 per cent for those from 35 to 39-years-old.

In contrast the number of expats working in Oman dropped by 3.4 percent from 1,795,689 in December 2017 to 1,739,473 now – with the biggest drop in the construction sector, which saw a 13.69 percent reduction from nearly 651,000 in December 2016 to just under 572,600 in October 2018.

Oman Introduced an expat visa ban across various private sector industries and professions from January 2018. Initially the ban was in force for six months, but was later extended to other fields of work and for further time.

The ban is part of the country’s Omanization project aimed at tackling Oman’s high unemployment levels among its citizens.

While the scheme has led to an increase in number of Omanis working, there has been an inevitable decrease in remittances.

Recent data showed a consistent decline in four of the country’s biggest expat communities – Indians, Bangladeshis, Pakistanis, and Tanzanians.

The National Center for Statistics and Information reported a 2.8 percent drop in the number of Indian expats, 4.4 percent in Bangladeshi expats, 6.9 percent in Pakistani workers, and 8.4 percent in Tanzanian workers. Most of the expats who left Oman held white collar jobs, according to NCSI.


Moody’s upgrades Egypt’s rating to B2, expects more economic growth

Updated 57 min 41 sec ago
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Moody’s upgrades Egypt’s rating to B2, expects more economic growth

  • Moody’s believes Egypt’s large domestic funding base would support its resilience to refinancing shocks
  • The ratings agency expects energy price hikes as part of Egypt’s fuel subsidy reform

CAIRO: Rating agency Moody’s has upgraded Egypt’s sovereign rating, saying ongoing economic reforms will help improve its fiscal position and boost economic growth.
Moody’s upgraded the long-term foreign and local currency issuer ratings of Egypt to B2 from B3. The outlook was changed to stable from positive.
The decision was based on “Moody’s expectation that ongoing fiscal and economic reforms will support a gradual but steady improvement in Egypt’s fiscal metrics and raise real GDP growth,” the agency said in a statement late on Wednesday.
Moody’s also said it believed Egypt’s large domestic funding base would support its resilience to refinancing shocks despite the government’s very high borrowing needs and interest costs.
Moody’s said it expected a steady improvement of Egypt’s fiscal position, “albeit from very weak levels.”
Maintained primary budget surpluses combined with strong nominal GDP growth would help reduce the general government debt/GDP ratio to below 80 percent by the 2021 fiscal year from 92.6 percent in the 2018 fiscal year, it said.
Egypt’s fiscal year runs from July to June.
Moody’s also said it expected energy price hikes as part of Egypt’s fuel subsidy reform, which it believed would be completed in the 2019 fiscal year. This, along with the fiscal reforms implemented in the last few years, would allow the government to maintain the primary budget balance in surplus in the next few years, Moody’s said.
The upgraded rating was expected, but still good news for Egypt, said Allen Sandeep, head of research at Naeem Brokerage.
“It should help its case for new international bond issuances as we move forward,” he said.
Egypt is pushing ahead with tough economic reforms as part of a three-year $12 billion IMF loan deal signed in 2016.
The reforms, aimed at attracting investors who fled during the 2011 uprising, have included new taxes, deep cuts to energy subsidies and a currency devaluation. The reforms have helped the economy recover, but have also put the budgets of tens of millions of Egyptians under strain.