Oman's slowing economy has left its medical professionals without salaries for months together, reported the Gulfnews. Falling of oil prices has forced its government to stop newer employment too, the report noted.
In a recent instance, more than 24 medical interns remained unpaid for six months despite the ministry of health approving their payments. According to Gulfnews, a medical intern at the Royal Hospital told Al Balad news website that the flow of money was stopped from the finance ministry.
As more than 390 doctors put in their papers in 2015, the Gulf nation's budget allocation to the health ministry was only $346 million in 2016 (it was $426 in 2015).
Another intern, Abdullah Al Abduli, at Sultan Qaboos University Hospital complained that after investing seven years of his life to study medical sciences, it was becoming unbearable for him to depend on his family any further. The medico is planning to buy a taxi to shore up his falling financial status.
While a taxi driver in Oman earns about $186 a month, a medical intern makes around $226 after working for 12 hours a day, noted Gulfnews. The intern from Royal Hospital alleged that the health ministry pays hundreds of dollars in gratuity to expatriates and denies Omanis their hard earned salaries.
For a country that generates over 80 percent of its national income from its energy sector, Oman had rather wagered a $64 billion budget from 2013 to 2020 on oil windfalls alone, said a columnist for the Times of Oman. Its budget-driven development programmes have taken a serious hit as oil prices started to dip in 2014.
Slump in oil money is reflected in Oman's falling value of exports vis-a-vis its increasing import value, added the daily. It noted that Oman's current situation is primarily on account of flaw in the implementation of its In-Country Value (ICV) policy, 2013. The policy aimed at boosting spends by companies within Oman, thereby benefiting businesses and human capacity, and spurring productivity in its economy.
With right implementation, according to the Times of Oman, the policy would add new spirit into government economic programmes by putting across Oman's national assets and its natural resources in a different perspective and helping its better utilisation.
Meanwhile, the Omanis have started a social media hashtag, which in English means, "I'm in solidarity with doctors," to pursue the cause further. Tweets have surged supporting doctors toiling at Oman's government hospitals. A tweet by Mutaseem Al Mamari, reported the Gulfnews, said that his country faces an economic crisis and that while Omanis appreciate that, medical interns do not deserve such neglect.