Oman's budget deficit drops to lowest in 5 years

Oman's state budget predicts a deficit of $7.27bn for 2019
Oman's budget deficit drops to lowest in 5 years
Oman’s budget deficit declined by 53 percent in the first half of 2019.
By Bernd Debusmann Jr
Mon 26 Aug 2019 11:31 AM

Oman’s budget deficit has dropped to the lowest level in five years, bolstered by a rise in government revenues and a slight decrease in spending, according to figures released by the sultanate’s National Centre for Statistics and Information (NSCI).

According to a report in Muscat Daily, Oman’s budget deficit declined by 53 percent to RO 660.6 million ($1.71mn) in the first half of 2019, compared to a RO 1.4 billion ($3.63bn) during the same time last year.

Largely due to higher revenues from oil, gas and corporate tax, total government revenues rose 11.4 percent to RO 5.515 billion ($14.32bn) between January and June, up from RO 4.948 billion ($12.85bn) during the first half of 2018.

Over the same time period, net oil revenues grew 5 percent to RO 3.074 billion ($7.98bn), compared to RO 2.929 billion ($7.6bn) last year.

Gas revenues went up 9.3 percent to RO 939.6 million ($2.4bn).

Total public expenditure decreased 2.8 percent to RO 6.174 billion, from RO 6.353 billion a year ago. This was largely due to a 13.5 percent reduction in investment expenditure.

Oman’s state budget for this year – which assumes an average oil price of $58 per barrel – projects a deficit of RO 2.8 billion ($7.27bn) for the entirety of 2019.

“The rise in oil prices provided required support to government revenues, while fiscal measures that were undertaken last year also continued to support the growth of non-oil revenue of the government,” the Central Bank of Oman said in its annual report.

“The government has made considerable progress in reducing the deficit over the last few years,” the statement added.

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