Additional revenues to be used for development projects, including roads and schools
Muscat – Having begun fiscal 2022 with a promising economic outlook bolstered by revenues from higher oil prices, Oman saw a budget surplus of RO18mn at the end of January 2022.
Price of Oman oil (May 2022 delivery) on Thursday peaked at US$115.70, up US$3 from Wednesday. If oil prices remain at these levels for the rest of the year, it will result in a significant budget surplus that will help the country repay its debt while embarking on new developments project given that the 2022 State Budget was based on US$50 a barrel.
In his meeting with sheikhs from the governorates of North Batinah, Dhahirah and Buraimi at Bait Bahjat al Andhar last week, His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik said, “Any surplus resulting from the high oil revenues will be used as much as possible to settle the country’s debt while looking at spending on development.”
He also stated that building basic facilities such as new schools, maintaining what is currently in place, and expanding roads and hospitals will be prioritised in the increase in spending above the approved Five-Year Plan.
“The state’s development plans are progressing as planned and are in the interest of the country and citizens. The government has always worked to serve the interests of citizens,” His Majesty the Sultan said.
According to the Ministry of Finance’s monthly newsletter on the country’s fiscal performance, public revenues ballooned an unprecedented 85.2 per cent to RO803.3mn at the end of January 2022, versus earnings of RO433.7mn for the corresponding period of 2021.
Aiding the upsurge in public revenues were increases in oil and gas export earnings with oil export revenues soaring 94.42 per cent to RO553.9mn in January 2022, up from RO284.9mn in January 2021.
On the development front, His Majesty said North Batinah has become a governorate with great economic potential. “An economic zone will be established in the Al Rawdah area in Buraimi. In the coming days, a number of officials will visit the area to determine the land on which the zone will be built,” he said.
Among new health facilities, Suwaiq Hospital is under development, while Sohar Hospital is ready. Other hospitals are under construction or nearing completion.
Based on His Majesty’s Royal Directives, the Ministry of Finance announced more projects, which will be implemented alongside other projects of the tenth Five-Year Plan (2021-2025). These include several new hospitals, construction of 76 government schools in different governorates, compensations for those displaced by the Al Batinah Coastal Road and first phase of Khasab Airport.
Projects in the transport sector include development of a road connecting Daba-Lima-Khasab and a link to Kumzar in Musandam, dualisation of the Al Ansab-Al Jefnain road (Phase 2), Phase 1 of the Al Batinah Expressway, renovation of roads connecting Sahwa roundabout and Mawalih intersections, and expansion of Muscat Expressway.
Projects in the tourism sector include developing the seafront at Al Dahariz beach in Dhofar, developing the seafront in the niyabat of Al Ashkhara, tourism facilities in the wilayat of Wadi Bani Khalid, protection systems for wadis in Dhofar and developing rainwater drainage systems in Muscat governorate.