With International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecasting the highest economic growth since 2012 and life becoming normal by containing Covid-19 pandemic with massive vaccination, the labour market in Oman, a Gulf country, will remain lucrative in 2022 thanks to high oil prices in the international oil market and gradual improvement in overall investment climate, sources said.
The International Monetary Fund in Muscat has significantly raised its forecast for Oman's economic growth this year.
It now expects the sultanate's real GDP to grow at the fastest pace since 2012.
As per IMF's World Economic Outlook report released this month, Oman's real GDP is expected to grow by 5.6 per cent in 2022 from an estimated two per cent growth recorded in 2021.
In contrast, the IMF last month downgraded its growth forecast for the world economy for 2022 by 0.8 percentage points to 3.6 per cent due to the 'seismic' impact of the war in Ukraine.
The expected boost for Oman's economic growth reflects the sultanate's higher oil production in line with an OPEC+ agreement and a rebound in non-oil economic activities.
Bangladesh will continue exploring the overseas labour market in Oman this year, as the Gulf economy has started overcoming the impact of Covid-19 with the launching of different development projects involving several billion US dollars, said a Bangladesh diplomat working in Muscat.
Bangladesh exported a total of 41,617 workers (12.90 per cent of total employment) during the January-March period of the current calendar year, 2022.
Bangladesh, however, exported a total of 322,583 workers to different countries during the current calendar year, according to the statistics of the Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training (BMET).
The share of employment in Oman shot up to 12.90 per cent of the total employment during the first three months of the current calendar year as against 8.91 per cent of the last calendar year, according to the data of BMET.
The Ukraine-Russia conflict leads to a rise in oil prices in the global market that also helps increase revenue earning of the Gulf country.
Recently, the World Bank also projected Oman's real GDP to grow by more than five per cent in 2022 as the sultanate's economy is on a solid path to recovery amid the easing of pandemic pressures, higher hydrocarbon outputs, and wide-ranging government reforms.
Additionally, the IMF has projected Oman's average annual inflation to increase to 3.7 per cent in 2022 from 1.5 per cent in 2021. Inflation will decrease again to 2.2 per cent in 2023.
The fund stated that Middle Eastern countries are highly exposed to global food prices, particularly the price of wheat, which is expected to remain high throughout the year and into 2023 amid the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict.
'In the Middle East and North Africa, spillovers from tighter global financial conditions, reduced tourism, and secondary demand spillovers (for example, from Europe) will also hold back growth, especially for oil importers. For oil exporters, higher fossil fuel prices may provide some offsetting gains,' the IMF stated.
The economy of Oman is expected to grow about 5.6 per cent in 2022 and will continue record growth rates during the years of the tenth Five-Year Plan along with gradual improvement in overall investment climate, said a Bangladesh diplomat.
According to the Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training (BMET), Bangladesh exported a total of around 1.6 million workers to Oman during the period of 1976-2021, sharing 11.6 per cent of the country's total manpower export to overseas markets during the same period.
"Oman is an important labour market to Bangladeshi expats and this country will also continue to remain vibrant this year as the Gulf country has started implementing a number of development projects," said the Deputy Head of Oman embassy Maushumi Rahman while talking to the Business Standard recently.
Quoting Omani policy-makers and top business leaders, Maushumi Rahman said, "Oman recalls the role of expatriate Bangladeshis in the development process of the Gulf country over the years."
KSA is the largest labour market for Bangladeshi expats as of now. The country exported 46,68,542 workers to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia during the 1976-2021 period, sharing 34.3% of the total labour market.
Maushumi Rahman, a career diplomat, said "over six lakh Bangladeshi expatriates are living currently in Oman and employed in different sectors. As the gulf economy has started getting back on track, she said the labour market of Oman to Bangladeshis seems lucrative in 2022."
The diplomat said, "We believe the Sultanate will remain as a major destination of Bangladeshi expatriate workers in 2022. Our expatriate workers, through their sincerity, modesty and hard work, have created a good impression on the Omani employers and their aptitude to pick up Arabic quickly and ability to muster the skills required for all kinds of jobs made them particularly popular amongst the Omanis."
She said that the constant campaigns of the embassy have encouraged many Omani employers in remote places of the Sultanate to recruit workers from Bangladesh.
"In spite of Covid-19, recruitment of Bangladeshi workers in Oman was good last year. We brought around 60,000 workers in the last one year (2021), and the present trend shows that total recruitment of Bangladeshi workers in 2022 may surpass three times of the previous recruitment in 2021," she added.
Meanwhile, a leader of the now defunct Bangladesh Association of International Recruiting Agencies (BAIRA) while talking to the daily said Bangladesh is expecting to export over 160,000 workers to Oman.