In the last twenty years, Oman has experienced a truly remarkable rate of infrastructure development. The country has been fortunate, not only in its resource endowments, but in its leadership's determination to bring the benefits of modernization to its people in the shortest possible time.  


Crusader castle, Syria

          Though the task is not finished, basic health and educational services are available to all citizens, and remote villages are now accessible by vehicle and through modern telecommunications. Basic needs have been met, and educational and employment opportunities created for all Omanis.

          This rapid rate of development necessarily involved the importation of foreign technology, systems, management and skills, which Oman adopted rather than adapted. Omanis were thrust into positions of heavy responsibility for the management of complex systems, with inadequate training and seasoning. Governmental institutions grew somewhat haphazardly, and the pace of change made the orderly development of personnel procedures impractical.

          Now the situation is changing. With basic needs met, the Government is giving more attention to consolidating gains, improving quality, and Omanizing positions and systems. Declining oil prices in recent years have drawn attention to the high cost of expatriate personnel, and the appearance for the first time of educated unemployed Omanis brings to notice the quality and relevance of the training Omanis are receiving at home and abroad.

          A Ministry of Civil Service was set up in 1988, superceding the Central Personnel Agency, in order to deal with training, management development, and systems reform in the public service, as well as to improve the standard personnel functions of recruitment, evaluation, promotion, and retirement. This relatively young Ministry faces the problem of accelerating the pace of Omanization of the Government without sacrificing the quality of services.

          At the request of the Government, the Management Development Program (MDP) of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) sent the author of this report on a brief reconnaissance mission, September 16-22 1990, to explore ways in which the UNDP might develop a program in support of the management improvement efforts of the Government.

          This report on that mission begins with a brief background section concerning the purpose of the reconnaissance mission, followed by its preliminary findings on the problems facing the Ministry of Civil Service (MCS) and the Institute of Public Administration (IPA). The balance of the report is devoted to a discussion of the issues posed by the Minister and to suggestions for future action. Steps are proposed by which the MCS could utilize UNDP assistance to enhance its capacity for servicing Government requirements, both for improved analytical and management systems and for upgrading Omani personnel in the civil service.

          The steps proposed include improving Government capabilities for manpower development and labor market analysis; enhancing training opportunities in Oman and abroad; and enabling the MCS to introduce management innovations in technical areas such as project appraisal, budgeting, agricultural policy formation, educational and health planning, and public enterprise management.


          The civil service of Oman has grown from 3,000 in 1970 to 64,000 persons, not including 13,000 employed by public authorities and the Diwan of the Royal Court, who are not in the civil service. Public employment has become the objective of most Omanis, because the terms of service are more attractive than those offered in the private sector, yet increasing numbers of Omanis with secondary and university degrees are not finding jobs in public agencies. The MCS faces the task of developing sound personnel management practices in the Government, while systematically replacing non-Omanis by Omanis in the civil service.

          The Minister of Civil Service, H.E. Ahmed Nabi Macki, believes quite rightly that the MCS itself should be strengthened as a first step in improving the efficiency of the civil service as a whole. He requested support from MDP in analyzing MCS tasks and devising a strategy for dealing with them. The MDP generally seeks unconventional approaches to the facilitation of management change. It typically takes a comprehensive view of public sector management problems and seeks sustainable improvements in the capacity of governments to meet their own long-term objectives.

          In requesting MDP support, the Government indicated specific interest in an examination of the following issues: 

1.        The capabilities of the public sector in preparing and implementing long-term administrative reform policies;

2.        Civil service organization, conditions of service, and human resources development; and

3.        Research and training in public administration.

          These topics were made more specific by H.E. the Minister of Civil Service and H.E. the Under Secretary during initial discussions, focusing particular attention on

a.        The organization of the Ministry;

b.        The strategy of the Omanization program;

c.        The organization and functions of the Institute of Public Administration; and

d.        The process of classifying positions in the civil service.

          A memorandum from the advisor to the Ministry added to this list the topics of manpower planning and the MCS role in assisting other Government units to reorganize for development purposes.

          The task of the Mission was, of course, not to come up with definitive answers to any of the problems posed, but to suggest a process through which the MDP could help the MCS deal with each of them. The topics are closely interrelated, and could be summed up as how to create a high-quality indigenous civil service capable of guiding the country from the era of petroleum-based rapid modernization to a post-petroleum era of higher productivity and diversified economy.

          With limited petroleum resources, Oman faces the prospect of declining living standards in the not-distant future unless it can upgrade the productivity of its people and create diversified economic opportunities. The civil service cannot be content with merely administering; it must be capable of initiating and stimulating economic activities.

          This Mission is not the first attempt by a visiting consultant to consider appropriate strategies for accomplishing the tasks of the MCS. In 1988 the UNDP sent to Oman an Interregional Adviser from the Department of Technical Cooperation for Development, who advised on manpower planning, job analysis, organizational analysis, personnel manuals, and training. In addition, the Omani-American Joint Commission provided a senior management specialist who advised on Civil Service development strategies in early l990. Both reports contain sensible recommendations for developing the capacity of the MCS.

A.        MCS Functions

          The questions facing the MCS concern not so much what needs to be done as how to do it with limited staff resources, particularly when available staff is heavily engaged with routine administrative procedures. The Directorate-General for Civil Servants, for example, has 47 staff members, of whom 22 are engaged in reviewing two to three hundred personnel actions per day. They must review each recruitment or promotion before the Ministry of Finance can make appropriate payments. The workload is so heavy that the Director-General estimates it would take 70 to 75 staff members to handle his responsibilities adequately.

          Similarly, the Directorate-General of Pensions has 24 employees, of whom three are university graduates, and they are fully engaged in administering the pensions and benefits system now in place. To their credit, the Director-General and his staff are seriously interested in exploring pension reform options, but they have very limited time and qualifications for doing so. The work of the Pensions staff is important because the absence of pensions in the private sector is one of the factors (although perhaps not the main one) leading Omanis to prefer civil service employment; and early-retirement inducements are potentially useful for encouraging senior people to seek private sector employment.

B.        The Omanization Plan

          The MCS’ efforts to accelerate Omanization of the public service fall mainly to the Directorate-General for Administrative Development. That unit includes Departments for Recruitment, Training, Job Classification and Budget, and Organization and Simplification of Work. The MCS has surveyed the Government to determine the number, training and experience of expatriates employed, in order to plan for their orderly replacement by Omanis within five years.

          In seeking to implement this plan, the Directorate-General urges recruiters in other ministries to specify the time when Omani recruits will replace their counterparts. This process meets some resistance, however, because even if formal qualifications match, experience and motivation are more difficult factors to measure. Often, an expatriate from a poor country will take a job for which he or she is substantially over-qualified because the salary is much more than would be available at home. An employer accustomed to having an overqualified staff member is unlikely to welcome his replacement by an inexperienced person, even one with appropriate paper qualifications.

C.        The IPA

          The IPA, set up in 1977, has 13 or 14 Omani staff and a similar number of expatriates. Six Omanis are currently studying for MAs in the United States and others will be sent abroad when they return. Staff are generally permitted to choose the university at which they will study.

          Most of the training currently offered at the IPA is clerical or in the areas of financial management and personnel management. Though these are useful courses, the IPA and Ministry officials recognize the need for courses at the middle management level. The IPA has not until now offered a pre-service course but has now approved in principle the introduction of a two-year induction course and has arranged for a British consultant to assist in designing an appropriate curriculum.

          The IPA has the flexibility to offer specialized courses on request. It also conducts three or four senior seminars per year, including sessions designed for directors-general. In addition to training, IPA conducts research and engages in modest numbers of consultations for other agencies of Government.

          The lack of senior Omani staff is a limiting factor for the IPA at the moment. This problem will be corrected in time, as more members of its staff receive advanced degrees in management and administration, but in the meantime the need for enhanced management training is acute. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that Sultan Qaboos University offers no courses in management, administration or the social sciences.

          The IPA currently has authority to make contacts with Arab and international organizations and institutions interested in administrative training and research. It maintains active relationships with the Institute of Public Administration in Riyadh and INTAN in Malaysia. These cooperating institutions have experience useful to the IPA, but they do not at present participate in upgrading its training capacity.

          In this situation, with limited staff capacity in the MCS and the IPA, already overburdened with routine administrative responsibilities, how could the MDP assist the Ministry to become an effective and innovative force in the Government?  To answer that question we must first analyze alternative approaches to the issues posed to the Mission, and then suggest actions within the capability of the MCS and the IPA to carry out.

D.         Position Classification

          Position classification is a fairly routine but essential step in the further professionalization of the Omani civil service. It is a building block for improving recruitment, performance evaluation, and promotion systems, and for facilitating interministerial mobility.

It seems to me unlikely, however, that the UNDP/MDP would have a comparative advantage in assisting the Government in this matter. Position classification is largely a matter of working out the system to be employed, organizing people from the personnel sections of the various ministries and training them as job analysts, setting timetables for accomplishment of the process, and monitoring progress. The MCS should not itself undertake to do the classification in other ministries; that would take forever. It should organize and supervise the effort, and get it done in the shortest possible time. External expertise, beyond that available from advisors already employed by the Ministry, should not be required.


          The issues raised by the Minister of Civil Service need to be addressed in the context of the changing nature of the tasks confronting the Government of Oman. For the past two decades, the Government’s priority task has been to create the institutions and facilities of a modern state. It has effectively met this challenge, and the change that has occurred within a single generation has been remarkable.

          The challenge of the next two decades will be to create a society capable of sustaining a comfortable living standard without reliance upon mineral wealth. To this end, the Government is already seeking to diversify the economy and to stimulate private sector development. It is clear that to achieve the objective of high living standards without dependence upon petroleum exports, the productivity of the Omani work force will need to increase substantially.

          Although in a large country productivity gains are available from mechanization of agriculture and industry, Oman, with a limited domestic market, will probably find it necessary to increase productivity by investing in human capital, or the skills of its people. This is a long-term process, but the oil reserves will not disappear all at once, and Oman has the time and resources to make the necessary investments, provided it recognizes the value of doing so.

A.        The Role and Functions of the MCS

          This analysis has important implications for the Ministry of Civil Service, which cannot be content only with establishing orderly procedures for managing the Government. It must play a leading role in the country's search for greater efficiency, economic diversity and higher productivity. This role can be summarized as (1) helping the other agencies of Government equip themselves with the analytical and management systems needed to accomplish their missions and (2) helping them to properly train and motivate Omani personnel.

          This role of the MCS is much more dynamic and challenging than that confronting most civil service organizations. Typically such an organization is concerned with stability; MCS must be concerned with change. To meet this challenge, MCS must become a welcome ally of the agencies of Government engaged in development tasks, such as the Development Council, and the Ministries of Agriculture, Education, Health and Labor. MCS can become a valued resource for these Ministries, a source of expertise for improving their management systems and upgrading their personnel.

          To achieve recognition as a welcome ally, the MCS will need to have more to offer other agencies than it has now, as well as better means of communicating and cooperating with them. Structurally, the MCS needs close ties with operating agencies at the highest levels and at the operational level. Specifically, the following steps are needed:

            a. The Minister of Civil Service should be a member of the Development Council, to allow the MCS to be an instrument for upgrading the quality of human resources and management systems.

            b. The Human Resources Development Committee, organized by the Development Council to help formulate the next five-year plan, should be continued under the chairmanship of the Minister of Civil Service. This ad hoc committee may be abolished after the plan is completed because its mandate overlaps to some extent a ministerial-level education and training committee. The latter does not include the Minister of Civil Service among its members, so it would not seem to be an adequate substitute.

            c. The Directorate-General of Administrative Development should acquire the capacity to diagnose the shortcomings of management methodologies used by Government agencies, and to design and help implement improved systems. Priority should be given to economic management systems, such as project appraisal techniques and sectoral analysis and planning systems.

            d. The Directorate-General for Civil Servants should acquire the capacity to design and implement effective programs for motivating and upgrading human resources in the Civil Service, again emphasizing the productive sectors.

            e. The IPA should become an effective instrument to support both the system-upgrading and human-resource development activities of the MCS.

          These changes cannot all be made in a short time. They will require extensive staff training and external assistance. It may be possible to initiate the analytical and coordinating functions in the Ministry by relying upon external consultants supplied by MDP in the short run. In the long run, however, MCS will need to develop its own senior staff capacities. The first requirement for reaching this goal is to ensure that MCS can offer competitive salaries and allowances for high-caliber people. Once it can offer competitive remuneration, it may be possible to obtain the services of some qualified people through transfer or secondment from other agencies. If the role of the MCS in upgrading the quality of Government service is accorded the national priority this report suggests it deserves, it should be possible to induce the best people available to accept these challenging responsibilities.

          MCS staff with high academic potential should receive priority consideration for placement in public policy training programs abroad in the next few years. It will be important that they acquire the analytical techniques and the exposure to the experience of other developing countries that is available in such programs.

           Perhaps the most difficult task will be to change the orientation of staff from control to service, and to have that change recognized by client ministries. The MCS should not seek greater powers with which to enforce compliance by other agencies with regulations concerning personnel or organizational practices. It should seek cooperative relationships with other agencies, providing them with access to training, analytical and management methods, and technical assistance they need to do their jobs.

          The MCS must reduce its involvement in routine administrative tasks for two reasons:  it needs to free staff for training and for participating in innovative developmental activities; and it needs to avoid becoming a control-oriented agency which other ministries do not wish to deal with.

          The tendency to concentrate on basic administrative activities, employing staff mainly to check that the regulations are observed in the personnel actions and organizational reforms carried out by Governmental organizations, is a natural one. Even when it undertakes more affirmative actions, such as planning for accelerated Omanization, MCS may find itself adopting a control orientation, directing agencies to replace non-Omanis with Omanis according to some set timetable.

          To avoid this tendency, and the perception by others of a control orientation, the MCS can do four things:

1.      Offer services genuinely desired by other agencies, such as access to improved methodologies or techniques for budgeting, project appraisal, pensions systems, sectoral planning and other tools of analysis and economic management. MCS can acquire knowledge of improved methodologies of this sort through cooperation with MDP.

2.      Arrange for training at the IPA of personnel officers throughout the Government, and transfer responsibility for accurate record-keeping and observance of regulations to the ministries concerned. MCS audit staff can check the performance of personnel functions through spot checks rather than reviewing each and every personnel action.

3.      Introduce new and improved personnel practices through task forces or working groups involving personnel officers from other ministries, rather than centralizing responsibility for the implementation of reforms. Job classifications, for example, should be carried out by personnel officers of each ministry, with guidance and supervision from MCS staff. This approach will depend upon the effectiveness of training personnel officers Government-wide.

4.      Create training opportunities for civil servants to upgrade their analytical and management skills on both a voluntary and official basis.

B.        Omanization

          Omanization must, in the long run, mean creating institutions that meet the needs of the country in ways compatible with Oman's culture and traditions. With this goal in mind, it could be a mistake to fill positions with people who are unlikely, by reason of education and training, to master their jobs to the point where they can modify systems without damaging their utility. The quality of the generation of Omanis assuming technical functions now will be critical to the process of developing appropriate and effective institutions.

          The standards of public service set in the next ten years, during which time the gains of modernization will be consolidated and Omanized, are likely to prevail for a very long time. It is important at this stage to concentrate on upgrading the standards of the people and the systems employed in Government if Oman is to prepare itself for the post-oil era. That era may be twenty years or more away, but it will take that much time to raise the standards of productivity of the society sufficiently to sustain high living standards in the absence of oil revenues.

          Reports on Oman almost invariably begin with an account of how few schools and paved roads existed in the country when His Majesty Sultan Qaboos rose to power in 1970. The infrastructural improvement since then has indeed been impressive. Without detracting from this accomplishment, it should not be forgotten that Oman has an important commercial, military and cultural history extending back for centuries. This longer perspective enables one to realize that, although Oman's ruler for a time resisted the twentieth century, the people of the country once dominated the region and extended their power far down the East African coast. Their present task is to overcome a late start in mastering modern technologies and the systems through which they are employed. This is a serious challenge, but the outcome is not in doubt. Omanis will master modern technology and systems as they once mastered the dhows and trading routes of earlier centuries.

          The pace of change in the past two decades has been so rapid that modern institutions and operating systems have been imported wholesale, along with the people skilled in operating them. Hospitals, universities, airports, and telecommunication networks come with standard equipment and, to operate them effectively, Omanis must become doctors, computer engineers, air traffic controllers, etc. Then, having mastered the technology, Omanis can shape institutions to fit the needs and culture of their society.

          A civil service differs from an airline or a hospital in that it is not built around advanced technologies. As a result, there is much more flexibility in organizing and staffing a civil service than in the technical institutions. The positive side of this is that a country can organize its civil service to fit its cultural and social traditions. The negative side is that there are few objective measures of the efficiency and effectiveness of a civil service. It is possible to get by with a very ineffective system without realizing its serious costs to the society. For this reason, it is particularly important not only to set high standards for civil servants, but to ensure that individuals’ efforts to upgrade their qualifications and to work effectively are rewarded.

          MCS is currently taking a micro-manpower planning approach to the problem of Omanization. Micro-manpower planning involves forecasting the needs, usually of a firm, for particular types of expertise on a position-by-position basis, and then identifying candidates and training them to meet those needs. Macro-manpower planning, in contrast, deals with the economy as a whole. Its purpose is to study existing patterns of manpower supply and utilization by skill levels and types of education, and to forecast future requirements. Manpower policies are then designed, and education and training opportunities created, so that adequate supplies of people are available to meet aggregate levels of demand.

          Manpower planning in developing countries generally suffers from several inherent problems. The first is the time lag problem: education and training take several years to complete, by which time technological and other changes have altered the demand picture in ways difficult to forecast. Another problem is that despite the determinations of skill requirements by manpower planners, individuals will pursue the employment they perceive to be most advantageous, and manpower planners may lack the power to convince them otherwise. In addition, social and cultural factors can influence choice of occupation in ways that may not correspond to the manpower planners’ priorities.

          For these reasons, it is generally more desirable to adopt a macro-manpower approach than a micro, and to concentrate on manpower development and labor market analysis instead of manpower planning. The process should rely more upon policy analysis and formulation than direct administration, more on incentives than directives, and more on qualitative than quantitative factors.

          The World Bank recently provided technical assistance in constructing a model of the macro-manpower needs of Oman over the next ten years. The model is useful for illustrating the relationship between the numbers of expatriates needed and the economic growth rate targeted. The parameters employed in the model are somewhat speculative and could be improved by research, but the shortcomings of the model as a macro-manpower analytical instrument go beyond its quantitative accuracy. Oman needs a process for gathering information on manpower supply and demand on a regular basis, analyzing manpower problems, devising policies and incentives, and evaluating their impact. This must be a continuing process, not a one-shot exercise, and it must be as concerned with the quality of manpower as its quantity.

          An effective manpower development and labor market analysis system in Oman should have four main elements:  a policy-level coordinating mechanism, an interministerial working group, a data-collection and analysis unit, and a human resource development unit.

          Policy coordination requirements in the Development Council, and in the Human Resources Development Committee under the Development Council, were discussed above. At the working level, there exists an interministerial committee for allocating scholarships. That committee could be a vehicle for interministerial cooperation on manpower issues, but its mandate would need to be broadened and its membership reviewed. No data collection and analysis unit currently exists that could handle the task of conducting studies and preparing policy options papers for ministerial review. Such a unit could be housed either in the Development Council or the MCS, but it should work closely with the Chairman of the Human Resources Development Committee, which would suggest an MCS location. Qualified staff for the unit are probably not currently available in either organization; consulting assistance will be needed for an initial period of time. 

          The data collection and analysis unit would be mainly concerned with policy issues that affect public and private sector incentives and constraints. In addition to this analytical function, a human resource development unit is needed to articulate training policies and create opportunities for learning for people at all levels of the Civil Service.

          In the last twenty years there has been little time for adequate preparation of Omanis for the urgent tasks they were assigned to do, and little scrutiny of the quality of certificates and degrees earned abroad. People learn through experience as well as formal training, and many Omanis have done very well with meager educational backgrounds, but it is important to the individuals and to the quality of Government to begin raising standards for training and to provide opportunities for broadening the backgrounds of those already in service.

          The upgrading of experienced people should begin very high up in the Government. Investment in broadening the perspective of people 35 to 45 years old who have already reached leadership levels may have a greater return than any other. MCS should seek opportunities to give these experienced executives exposure to public policy programs, where they can acquire analytical tools and familiarity with experience elsewhere in the world, to equip them for future leadership positions in Oman.

          The Development Council recently arranged, through the World Bank, to send 20 young graduates from the Council and planning departments in other ministries to George Mason University in Virginia for post-graduate training in development economics. The program, which may take from 18 to 30 months depending upon the remedial work required of the candidate, will be monitored by experts from the World Bank. This is an excellent idea, and a model for the kind of innovative, intensive upgrading efforts the MCS should be able to arrange in response to the special requirements of different Government agencies.

          Postgraduate training abroad is bound to increase as Omanis seek qualifications for increasingly professional posts. The present process for scholarship allocations needs a drastic overhaul: improved selection procedures to assess the academic potential of candidates for overseas training; predeparture preparatory programs to improve candidates' English language and subject matter skills to gain admission to more rigorous institutions; and better placement procedures to ensure that Omanis study in the best institutions to which they can gain admission.

          The Ministry of Education allots fellowships for postgraduate study, with limited advice from MCS as to priority fields of study. At the present time, 122 civil servants are engaged in postgraduate studies abroad, supported by Ministry of Education funds. Last year, ten completed advanced degrees and returned to Oman, allowing another ten to be sent abroad. The budget for such training is fixed, and the policy is to send new people abroad only when someone already abroad returns. Candidates supported by Petroleum Development (Oman), the Ministry of Defense, and the new crop of 20 to be sent by the Development Council, are not limited in this way.

          Of those abroad, 56 are studying in the United States, 37 in the United Kingdom, 9 each in Egypt and Jordan, 3 in Canada, and one or two each in several other countries. Generally it takes two to three years to earn an MA in an Arab country, but it can take as long as four or five years in the UK or the US. Little control is exercised over the choice of institution the candidate wishes to attend.

          This system could be more efficient and more effective with improved selection, preparation, placement, and monitoring techniques. MCS should have responsibility for this important dimension of civil service manpower upgrading. Each ministry should include postgraduate training for staff in its own budget, to eliminate an arbitrary central limit on numbers by a ministry with no stake in the benefits of the training.

C.        Utilization of the IPA

          The IPA could become a key instrument for implementing MCS programs for upgrading management systems and human resources.

          In areas such as project appraisal, agricultural policy analysis, budgeting, educational planning, etc., the IPA would have a major role to play in adapting methodologies to Oman's needs and mounting training courses to familiarize staff in other ministries with the new operational and analytical techniques.

          To take an example mentioned in the Aide-Memoire, if the MCS were to assist the Development Council in upgrading the quality of the project appraisal system currently in use, one member of the IPA staff, one from the Directorate of Administrative Development, and one from the Development Council could attend an advanced course in project appraisal abroad, then work together as a task force with consultants from the source institution to adapt a system to fit Oman's needs. Once the Development Council adopted the new system, the IPA would offer training in operating it for Development Council staff and for project design staff from other ministries.

          In support of the Directorate-General of the Civil Service, the IPA could assist in upgrading personnel officers from other ministries. The IPA already offers a basic course in personnel management. It should work closely with the audit staff of the Civil Servants Directorate-General, and the Job Classification staff in the Directorate-General of Administrative Development in the MCS, to devise short-term training courses for personnel managers in other ministries who will be engaged in processing personnel actions and in classifying positions. These training courses could be designed with the assistance of advisors already assigned to the MCS.

          Another function of the IPA could be to assist the human resources development unit in the MCS to improve the management of overseas training. The IPA would be a logical place to develop aptitude tests to improve the selection of candidates for graduate training abroad (and the selection of candidates for admission into the Civil Service), and to offer English language preparation and subject-matter-upgrading courses for overseas training candidates.

          The IPA should also consider developing the capacity to offer middle-level management training courses for civil servants, and private sector management training on a voluntary, fee-paying basis.

          It would be possible to offer both private-sector and public-sector management training at the IPA, in association with an American or European university with the capacity to offer external degrees. If public-sector courses were offered primarily during the day, and private-sector courses primarily in the afternoons and evenings, savings would be available in the use of space and the sharing of staff resources.

          As noted above, many Omanis were pressed into Government service, in the last two decades of rapid modernization, without having the opportunity to complete their education. This happens everywhere, and many people take courses after work or on weekends to obtain the degrees they could not afford, or were not motivated, to obtain before joining the workforce. Facilities for after-hours study leading to a degree are not now available in Oman. The University has considered offering part-time degree courses, but has not made a feasibility study and, in any case, does not offer courses in the management field.

          The opportunity for voluntary enrolment in management courses for academic credit would boost the morale of those in the civil service who desire more education, improve the qualifications of civil servants who participate, and facilitate the flow of Omanis into the private sector by giving them opportunities to acquire marketable skills.

          Teaching staff could be recruited on a part-time or full-time basis from local residents with appropriate qualifications. The program could pay for itself through tuition fees within three or four years, except for the courses designed for upgrading Government management practices.     

          The Secretary General of the Development Council, H.E. Mohammed Mousa, suggested that a twinning arrangement with a management institute in an advanced country is needed, and this idea was informally endorsed by the Acting Director General of the IPA, Mr. Shaban Burman. Twinning, or simply contracting, with another institution would have an advantage over directly hiring expatriate staff, namely that an institution would have a coherent program of studies taught elsewhere that could be modified to Oman's circumstances.

          The type of institution with which to seek the most appropriate link would depend upon the range of functions assigned to the IPA over the next few years.


          The strategy suggested for the MCS in this report requires a dynamic, developmental orientation. The Ministry would focus its efforts on upgrading the quality of indigenous human resources in Government and on improving the analytical and managerial methodologies used by Government agencies. Concern for the rapid replacement of expatriates by Omanis, for classifying positions in the Civil Service, and for the enforcement of Government regulations governing personnel actions would be de-emphasized and higher priority placed upon improving efficiency and productivity.

          This strategy may seem contrary to the Ministry's chosen objectives. Quality, the factor emphasized throughout this report, may be perceived as the enemy of Omanization, even though the policy is clearly stated that Omanization should be accelerated without the loss of quality. In practice, it is easier to measure how many Omanis are in posts than how well they are filling them.

          The case for the recommended strategy rests on two arguments. The first is that Oman is likely to suffer a decline in living standards as its oil resources are depleted unless the productivity of its people increases substantially; and the quality of the Civil Service will have a major impact on the productivity of the society as a whole.

          The second argument is that the number of non-Omanis employed in Oman is more a function of the rate of expansion of the economy and Government services than of recruitment and replacement efforts of the MCS. The manpower-planning model set up by the World Bank at the Development Council demonstrates the mathematical relationship between growth rate and expatriate employment. The rapidity of building the nation's infrastructure over the past two decades led to a large influx of foreign labor, but as the rate of expansion of Government facilities and services levels off, the Omanis coming out of education and training will replace expatriates in increasing numbers. Creating better training opportunities and incentives for achievement have higher priority than pushing for replacement on a post-by-post basis.

          It is evident that external assistance would be useful if the MCS decides to pursue the strategy recommended. Access to external sources of advanced management systems, public-policy and management-training programs, and consultants on these subjects could be provided under program organized by MDP. In order to explore ways in which the MDP might assist the MCS to expand its development role, a programming team of four persons could visit Oman for ten days to two weeks in the near future.

          The team should if possible be composed of a labor economist, a management trainer, an educator with experience in institutional linkages, and a person familiar with the organization of overseas training programs. The objective of the team would be to design a program of MDP assistance to the MCS and the IPA along the lines recommended in this report. The program would be presented in modular form, along with estimates of the cost of each module, so the MCS can determine which avenues it wishes to pursue without necessarily accepting the entire package.

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