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Times of Oman 15 Feb 2016

MUSCAT: Government sector services need to meet the challenges that the Sultanate faces today, speakers at a conference on competence building in the government sector said.

The conference, organised by the Ministry of Civil Service in association with Competence HR, was opened on Sunday and will continue for three days. Organisations from the public and private sector, as well as international experts on competence building are participating in the conference.

The event was aimed at understanding ways to improve the level of services in the public sector, using expertise from abroad as well as experience from the public and private sectors.

This is needed as the public sector in the Sultanate, as in other countries around the world, is facing a number of challenges, Sayyid Salim bin Musallam Al Busaidi, Undersecretary for Administrative Development Affairs at the Ministry of Civil Service, told the Times of Oman.

“It is a big challenge. First, we are seeing the fast development of technologies and uncertainty in the world. Secondly, people have been demanding improvement in government services. How can one be more accurate in government work? This is a central question in this conference,” he said.

Adapting to a fast developing technology is another key concern, Al Busaidi said.

Commenting on the role of the private sector, Al Busaidi said at the conference, organised and sponsored by the private sector, exchanging views between the public and private sectors on challenges and solutions should be the focus of this conference.

“Bringing all these people together for the first time and bringing in expertise from outside the country is a great chance. I think this will create a more focused environment where participants will be fully able to solve problems,” he said. “But it is also important that people themselves want to bring change. Such change cannot sim- ply be imposed upon.”

Mohammed Jassim, expert on excellence in the government sector in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), however, said that to make a success of this programme, leadership’s support is needed.

“It is the backbone of the success of this programme,” he said.

When asked about whether upcoming changes in the government sector will lead to less employment for young Omanis, Al Busaidi said it is already a reality that the government sector cannot absorb many more new employees.

“It is for the government to decide whether or not to make the government slimmer. That is out of my hands. What we know is that the government is working hard to improve the speed of its services for the people, that everything is being done online, that procedures are simplified and that one can appeal if there is a problem,” he said.

Al Busaidi said he hopes that at the end of the conference, the leaders of the ministries will know more about the challenges they are facing and how can the services, delivered to employees and citizens, be improved.

“If you want to bring investors to your country, create more jobs for nationals and grow your economy, you have to deliver good services. That’s a must,” he said.

As for creating more local jobs, Oman is already “advanced” when compared to other states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), according to Jassem.

“Omanis have good basic factors. They have good knowledge, but they need a strategy in order to achieve excellence,” he said.

Jassem stressed the importance of training. He said that Omanis need more training, especially regarding leadership roles, international understanding and applying new technologies.

“I think that this leadership programme is a good beginning to create focused and well-trained people,” he said.

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