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Oman records 46% drop in deficit as revenues rise

9 Oct 2021 Oman revenues and deficit By GULAM ALI KHAN

Muscat – On the back of nearly 14 per cent increase in revenues this year, Oman’s government managed to reduce its budget shortfall by more than 46 per cent during the January–August period of 2021 compared to the corresponding period of last year.

The sultanate’s budget deficit dropped to RO1.051bn in the first eight months of 2021 from RO1.957bn in the same period of 2020, a reduction of more than RO900mn, according to data released by the Ministry of Finance.

Oman recorded a 13.9 per cent increase in government revenues in the first eight months of 2021 as oil and gas prices during this period remained higher compared with the same period a year ago. Total revenues rose to RO6.330bn during the January–August period against RO5.554bn recorded in the same period of 2020.

‘Such an increase [in revenues] is reflected by improved oil and gas prices over the past months. Oil revenue amounted to RO3.309bn while gas revenue reached RO1.231bn, up by 17.8 per cent and 34.2 per cent, respectively, over the same period last year,’ the Ministry of Finance said in its monthly Fiscal Performance bulletin.

Moreover, current revenue also jumped by 37.2 per cent to RO1.759bn in the first eight months of this year from RO1.282bn in the same period a year ago.

By the end of August 2021, total public spending amounted to RO7.382bn, a decrease of 1.7 per cent compared with RO7.511bn in the same period in 2020, the data showed.

S&P Global Ratings recently upgraded its outlook on Oman to ‘positive’ from ‘stable’ as the world’s biggest ratings agency now believes that the sultanate’s reforms programme and higher oil prices will narrow fiscal deficits and slow the increase in government debt.

Over RO800mn paid to private sector

By the end of September 2021, the Ministry of Finance has managed to settle the payments of private sector with an amount of RO823mn, the bulletin said.

‘This reflects the payment vouchers received through the e-financial system, and which have completed the documentary cycle,’ the ministry said.

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