Oman's newly-established Public Authority for Manpower Registry (PAMR), which has been tasked with creating a national database of Omani jobseekers, has described media reports of jobless figures as "inaccurate and exaggerated".
In a statement to the official Oman News Agency, the authority's chairman Mohsin Bin Khamis Al Beloushi said a partial review of data collected by the PAMR revealed a skewed picture of present unemployment levels in the sultanate. He pointed out that a significant proportion of job requests received by the authority last year had come from housewives, students and even retirees seeking to capitalise on unemployment benefits announced by the government.
According to the official, of the 42,313 Omanis who had registered for the monthly unemployment payout of 150 riyals (Dh1,413), a hefty 83 per cent were women with general diplomas or less, indicating they were primarily housewives.
Another 110,000 people who sought to register for unemployment benefits were found to be students enrolled at higher education institutions, serving government employees, private sector workers, and even pensioners.
At the same time, the PAMR was instrumental in securing employment for more than 10,000 nationals - male and female - in various government, civil and military establishments during the first five months of the current year, Al Beloushi said. A further 14,000 citizens had been recruited by the private sector in coordination with the Ministry of Manpower, he added.
Efforts by the government to address unemployment among Omanis have long been stymied by the lack of a centralised database on available national manpower - a shortcoming that is being addressed with the establishment of the PAMR.