By Andy Sambidge
New trade and export statistics show that value of oil and gas exports falls amid oil price drop
The total value of exports from Oman recorded a decline of 8.5 percent in the first seven months of 2014 compared to the same period last year.
Exports including oil and gas, non-oil products and re-exports totalled OR11.7 billion ($30.3 bilion) compared to OR12.8 billion in the year-earlier period.
Recently released trade and export statistics issued by the National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI) revealed that the fall was due to a decrease in the value of oil and gas exports by 7.7 percent, declining from OR8.5 billion to OR7.8 billion.
During the same period, the total value of re-exports also declined by 18.8 percent, recording re-exports of to OR1.8 billion.
Non-oil exports also declined by 1.1 percent, totalling OR2.07 billion, the figures showed.
Oman has run a small budget surplus so far this year but the slide of the Brent crude oil price to around $80 a barrel in recent months, from levels of around $115 in June, promises to push it into deficit next year unless oil rebounds sharply.
Assuming an average oil price of $80 next year and no additional steps to boost revenue, the government is likely to post a deficit of OR3.05 billion, it was reported last month.
The country's Shoura Council has suggested reforms to expand Oman's non-oil tax revenues, including an expansion of tax categories, a review of tax rates, the addition of new tax sources and improvements to the efficiency of tax collection.
The council's economic and financial committee also recommended imposing a 2 percent tax on the remittances back to their home countries of the more than 1 million foreign workers in Oman.
The committee suggested imposing a "fair tax" on LNG exports, to raise an additional OR196 million.