Muscat – The government of Oman made major milestones in a number of financial, economic and monetary indicators for the year 2021, thanks to the wise leadership of His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik. The gross domestic product (GDP) in current prices, as of the end of the third quarter of 2021, rose to RO24.2bn.
Forecasts point to an expected improvement of the GDP at current prices to RO32bn in 2021, with a growth rate of 13.8 per cent compared to 2020.
According to Oman News Agency, Oman registered a decline in deficit from an estimated RO4.8bn, as was the case before undertaking fiscal management procedures, to RO1.2bn by the end of last year, constituting a 75 per cent cut in deficit.
As a percentage of the GDP, the deficit was down from 15.5 per cent in 2020 to 3.8 per cent in 2021.
To boost Oman’s economy, His Majesty the Sultan reinstated the Ministry of Economy, which was abolished in 2011. This reflects His Majesty’s focus on the economic policy reforms. His Majesty the Sultan also merged sovereign investment funds.
Public spending was brought under control, despite financial challenges, which required allocating extra credit to manage the situation.
This included addressing the spread of COVID-19 and raising the reception/admission capacity of higher education establishments to 31,000 seats, in addition to the allocation of RO418mn for the payment of overdue balance of previous years, RO1.2bn for the settlement of the financial dues of private sector companies till the end of 2021 and employment costs and the allocation of RO200mn to meet the cost of repairing damages resulting from the tropical cyclone Shaheen. Part of the additional credit was routed to cover the government’s contribution towards capital and operational expenses of the oil and gas sector due to a delay in the procedures to establish Energy Development Oman (EDO).
Oman registered a 68 per cent decline in the general debt ratio to the GDP, as compared to a planned 83 per cent ratio of debt to GDP. All credit rating agencies upgraded Oman’s future outlook last year to ‘stable’ and ‘positive’ after excessive downgrading which started in 2014.
Commodity exports posted an increase of 42.2 per cent till September 2021, compared to the corresponding period in 2020, while commodity imports rose by 54.3 per cent till September last year, compared to the corresponding period in 2020.
The Central Bank of Oman’s reserves in foreign currency grew by 31 per cent to US$18bn till the end of December 2021, compared to about US$14bn by the end of December 2020.
His Majesty the Sultan also approved the launching of Oman Vision 2040 to be applied from 2021 till 2040. In his meeting with the Council of Ministers, His Majesty valued the efforts and tasks undertaken towards the preparation of Oman Vision 2040. Based on national priorities on which Oman Vision 2040 is based, His Majesty the Sultan called for channelling all efforts and resources for the realisation of goals and programmes of fiscal balance, the development of legal instruments for investment, the streamlining and acceleration of government services, the development of economic zones and the implementation of major projects, along with the upgrading of national expertise – with all this to be linked to the employment of citizens, being a top national priority.
In this context, His Majesty underlined the government’s constant keenness to pursue the five-year plans aimed at achieving the goals and priorities of Oman Vision 2040.
On the occasion of the glorious 50th National Day, His Majesty the Sultan said, “Within the context of supporting the government’s ability to meet the requirements of Oman Vision 2040, we embarked on developing the state’s administrative apparatus, restructured the Council of Ministers and entrusted to it the responsibility of implementing the forthcoming development plans. The overall aim is to enhance government performance and competence.”