Word on the street: Weathering the economic crisis

Public opinion from the streets of Muscat

Do you think Oman is in a position to ward off economic crisis if oil price continues to fall?

Nausheen Mian, Teacher
Yes. I think Oman should diversify to weather the economic crisis. I think the sultanate has a lot of potential in sectors such as tourism which can help boost its revenues.

Ali Rana, Businessman
Oman needs to look into economic diversification as a strategy to sustain itself in the long run. It should look at formulating sustainable policies to benefit tourism sector. Policymakers should also concentrate on alternative sources of income other than oil and gas.

Shehreen Bokhari, Teacher
No. I think Oman should focus on formulating sustainable policies to stay afloat. It should look at foreign direct investments to make its economy resilient to this crisis.

Ridhi Asher, Private sector employee
Yes, the country will be able to stay afloat because the economy has not been directly impacted at present. The new economic reforms being implemented will help the country to tackle the crisis.

Jahanzaib Khan, Private sector employee
Yes, Oman will be able to deal with the current economic slowdown. However, I feel it is a difficult situation as Oman does not have huge oil reserves. I feel economic diversification is necessary and the state needs to cut down on its spending.


Do you foresee the economic situation affecting your salary hikes, bonuses etc?

Niraj K Ramiaya, Businessman
Most businesses in the region have been feeling the heat due to fall in oil prices. This will affect increments and bonuses. Even though business was smooth for me last year, I am sure economic slowdown will soon affect us all.

Emran Sheikh, Financial manager
No, we were not expecting any increments or bonuses this year looking at the country’s economic situation. However, we are well prepared to face the crisis.

Ahmed Waheed, Private sector employee
Yes. However, I am expecting to get a bonus as business was good last year for my company. Everyone expects to get a bonus, especially when one has worked so hard to earn it. I am not sure the economic slowdown will affect my company.

Abdullah al Khaldi, Private sector employee
Yes, I am expecting to get a bonus this year since I have worked hard for it. Increments are a way to appreciate an employee’s good work. It also encourages him/her to work harder. By giving increments and bonuses companies too earn the loyalty of the employee.

Darab Fateh, Private sector employee
No, I was not expecting any increment this year considering the financial problems due to drop in oil prices last year. Giving bonuses in this situation is not a good idea as it will only add to the economic burden.


Are you prepared for the austerity measures being planned to cut expenses and the budget deficit?

Khalid al Mukhaini, Key accounts manager
I get fuel allowance from my company so I don’t think hike in petrol prices will affect me. But, I don’t know if prices of other essential services will also increase. I think the austerity measures will mostly affect the low income groups. People who have taken loans will find it difficult to sustain themselves.

Punnoose Mangalam, Manager
No. With these measures, operating costs will increase and the quality of services will decrease. Transportation charges will also increase. Most business are working on low profit margin. Such measures will affect small and medium enterprises too. Many expatriates will now start thinking of going back home if they can’t save here anymore. But getting a new job is difficult as most countries are facing an economic crisis.

Said al Balushi, Port employee
I think it’s a good idea. The government can save billions by removing fuel subsidy. One should cooperate with the government. Other countries in the GCC have already cut subsidies. I hope the government goes slow on economic reforms so that people can prepare themselves.

Sulochana Naik, General manager
Drop in global oil prices has affected businesses, especially the small ones. I don’t think I am prepared for such austerity measures. But, one has to accept the government’s decisions. We will have to wait for some time to see the effects of these measures.

Abdul Anas, Marketing executive
No. Hike in oil prices will also increase the cost of food and other essential services. Those in the low-income bracket are more likely to be affected by these austerity measures. People will be able to deal with the situation only if salaries are increased. I came to Oman to work and save money. But if the situation worsens, I may have to think of going home next year.


Has the economic crisis affected you in anyway directly? How do you see it affecting the country?

Ghulam Ali al Balushi, Private sector employee
I am not sure if the current economic crisis will affect me. I spend judiciously and I will continue to do the same in future. This crisis will definitely affect the country and so it needs to explore different sources of revenue. The company I work for has not been affected by the economic downturn. I am hopeful things will change for good soon.

Prashanta Kumar Mohapatra, Private sector employee
At present, economic crisis has not affected me directly, but I am sure it will in future. It has definitely affected the country as the government has already started cutting its expenditure. Private sector companies will be forced to reduce their investments. Cost of living too will rise.

Sultan al Anqoodi, Businessman
No, it has not affected me directly. But, I am sure the cost of living will soon increase in Oman. The government will try its best to ensure that prices of essential commodities do not soar. However, people will definitely have to cut personal expenses and start saving.

Haresh Kumar Pattanayak, Private sector employee
Economic crisis might not affect me right now but it may in future. Companies dependent on oil sector have definitely been affected. Investments will be curtailed which will affect job creation in the market. We have to wait and watch to see how things change.

Said al Afifi, Government sector employee
It may affect me in the future as I have heard that some ministries have put new projects on hold. I am sure this move will affect those involved with these projects. So, I have to see that I spend judiciously and start saving for future.

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