Oman to cut public authority worker benefits

Perks being cut include health insurance, annual leave tickets and school fees



Workers at Oman’s public authorities and institutions are facing cuts to their benefits, including health and life insurance, according to reports.

A Ministry of Finance circular, cited by Times of Oman, stated that the decision was a measure being taken to regulate government investments and keep track of expenditure.

It will affect authorities ranging from IT to electricity, ports, telecoms, capital markets and special economic zones.

However, government ministries will not be impacted because the privileges do not exist, Ministry of Finance public relations officer Khalid Al Busaidi told the publication.

Privileges that are being cut for employees of the affected institutions include health, life, travel and car insurance.

Loans, bonuses and incentives during Ramadan or Eid and increments not related to an employee’s key performance indicators would also be axed. These include allowances for school fees, mobile phones, annual medical check-ups for employees and their families and annual leave tickets.

However, housemaid allowances, house rents, furniture allowances and hospitalisation fees will still be covered, the publication reported.

The circular stated that employee privileges cost the government a lot of money but bear no direct relation to performance. It said all privileges granted to employees with the exception of salaries would be withdrawn.

Authorities were also asked to adjust their current regulation to correspond with the new rules before the end of July.

“Any decision that helps in cutting the country’s expenditure and reducing the deficit of the country’s budget is always appreciated by citizens,” Majlis Al Shura member Tawfiq Al Lawati told Times of Oman.

Oman is expected to post a budget deficit of OMR 3.3bn ($8.6bn) in 2016 from OMR 4.5bn last year through spending cuts and other measures.

The country has been hit hard by low oil prices and implemented a number of measures to increase government revenues in response including cuts to subsidies and fee increases.