As someone who loves Oman, there are some things that have occurred or seem to be occurring here in the Sultanate that cause me some concern. Each of these points on their own might seem like nothing, but when you see them combined as a whole, I don’t think it bodes well for those expats who have enjoyed the little luxuries of life here in Oman. Here are issues that have been brought up in the local news recently which I find alarming:
- The recent idea/attempt by some in the Shura Council to tax expat remissions. (Didn’t happen but the thought is there!)
- Current ban on exploying expat women in the Sultanate (Based on the idea that women might not be so safe here in Oman?) (As a side note, still absolutely no word on the punishment (if any) of the 5 beasts who raped an Asian lady in Sohar last year.)
- Ban on dancers and live music. (Seems small but seems to have killed many social events and hurt several pubs/bars in their entertainment options.)
- Growing gap between expats and Omanis (January saw large salary increases for many Omanis based on the fact that…well, they are Omani!) The current minimum wage for Omanis is 325 OR while the minimum wage for an Ethiopian maid (correct me if I’m wrong anyone) is 25 OR.
- Unclear/Confusing laws (The recent announcement of a 2 year ban on expats, for example, that is still causing much confusion and interpreted differently by so many. (See #3 once again for another example)
- Closing down of some respectable B&Bs such as Nomad Guesthouse as reported by Y Magazine. (Maybe this also should fall into #5)
- The subsidies on petrol are to end this year or next. This year (I heard/read) is also the first time that Oman has considered the option of borrowing money from foreign countries to meet its budget. An anticipated deficit of 1.8 billion for Oman’s 2014 budget according to the Times of Oman.
- Proposed ban of alcohol as reported in the Times of Oman yesterday. You need to read this for yourself and see some of the attitudes out there about which direction some wish this country to follow
Interesting to note that many of these issues were brought up/introduced in the Shura Council… Any of these issues (or others) a concern to you?