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‘Together We Progress’ forum spurs public-private dialogue

11 Feb 2024 ‘Together We Progress’ forum spurs public-private dialogue By OUR CORRESPONDENT

Muscat – The second edition of the ‘Together We Progress’ forum opened on Sunday under the auspices of H H Sayyid Theyazin bin Haitham al Said, Minister of Culture, Sports and Youth.

Organised by the Secretariat General of Council of Ministers, the forum serves as a crucial platform for enhancing communication and trust between the government and the community, aiming to foster a better understanding of government policies, development programmes and initiatives while gathering citizen feedback.

The opening day featured sessions where ministers highlighted institutional strategies aligned with the goals of Oman Vision 2040, sharing data and insights of future projects to promote transparency and inform citizens about government endeavours.

H E Dr Hilal al Sabti, Minister of Health, announced the approval  of 15 investment projects in the medical and pharmaceutical sectors, highlighting the sultanate’s commitment to a sustainable healthcare system. He also informed about expansion of healthcare units and hospitals across the country under the decentralisation policy, alongside an increase in operational hours to address appointment backlogs. Omanisation rate in the health sector now stands at 71%.

While addressing the need of economic diversification and entrepreneurship to create opportunities for graduates, H E Dr Rahma bint Ibrahim al Mahrouqi, Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation, emphasised the fact that aligning academic programmes with the labour market needs does not ensure immediate job placement for all graduates. She urged graduates to be proactive in creating jobs by engaging in entrepreneurship and being open to international employment opportunities.

H E Dr Rahma bint Ibrahim al Mahrouqi, Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation

H E Dr Madiha bint Ahmed al Shaibani, Minister of Education, announced plans to construct 29 school buildings within the year to reduce reliance on evening schools and highlighted the appointment of 18,679 Omani teachers from 2016 to 2023.

Citing the essential role of women in social progress and their potential for leadership positions, H E Dr Laila bint Ahmed al Najjar, Minister of Social Development, spoke against the trend of early retirement by women. She urged women’s continued engagement in the workforce to maximise their contribution to the country. “The earlier a woman leaves, the greater the country’s loss,” she said.

Nasser Khamis al Jashmi, Chairman of Tax Authority and Chairman of Board of Directors of the Social Protection Fund, detailed the social protection system’s role in offering benefits, insurance, savings programmes and supplementary programmes, with over 1.39mn beneficiaries to date, highlighting the extensive reach of childhood benefits to 1,144,293.

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