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Oman records RO145mn budget surplus in January

13 Mar 2023 By GULAM ALI KHAN

Oman’s government repaid RO511mn worth of loans during January 2023, reducing the country’s total debt to RO17.2bn

Muscat – Oman’s government recorded a budget surplus of RO145mn in January this year as compared to a surplus of RO18mn in the same period of last year, the Ministry of Finance announced on Monday.

The sharp increase in January surplus was mainly due to a 22 per cent rise in total revenues which came at RO982mn as against RO804mn in the same month a year ago.

Higher revenues was mainly a result of increase in oil and gas income, which accounted for about 88 per cent of Oman’s total public revenues, according to Fiscal Performance Bulletin issued by the Ministry of Finance.

With increased output and higher prices, net oil revenues grew by nine per cent to RO602mn in January this year as compared to RO554mn in January 2022, while gas revenues increased by 18 per cent year-on-year to RO258mn.

The sultanate’s daily oil production increased by 5.2 per cent to 1.063mn barrels per day in January 2023 in comparison with 1.01mn barrels per day recorded in the same period of the previous year.

Average price at which Oman sold its crude oil during January increased nearly 11 per cent to US$91 per barrel from US$82 per barrel recorded in January 2022.

The sultanate’s 2023 budget is based on an average oil price estimate of US$55 per barrel and average oil production of 1.175mn barrels per day.

Moreover, the government’s current revenue collection surged nearly four times to RO122mn in January this year from RO31mn recorded in the same months of last year.

Oman’s government repaid RO511mn worth of loans during January 2023, reducing the country’s total debt to RO17.2bn, the Ministry of Finance announced.

‘During the month of January 2023, total repaid loans amounted to RO511mn which primarily constituted of RO480mn maturing international bonds. This has contributed towards reducing the total government debt to RO17.2bn at the end of January,’ the ministry said in its Fiscal Performance Bulletin.

Public spending up 7%

Oman’s total public spending during January 2023 was recorded at RO837mn, which is RO51mn or seven per cent higher compared to the same period a year ago.

The sultanate’s current expenditure slightly increased to RO299mn in January this year when compared with RO296mn of the same period a year ago.

Development expenditure of the ministries and government units amounted to RO1mn, which represents just 0.1 per cent of total RO900mn allocated for developmental spending for the full year 2023.

Expenditure for contributions and other expenses category (which also include government subsidies) was raised by 19.3 per cent to RO37mn during January this year as compared to RO31mn recorded in January 2022. Oil product subsidy amounted to RO4mn in January, while an amount of RO33mn was transferred to future debt obligations budget-item.

The Ministry of Finance in its monthly bulletin also highlighted the International Monetary Fund’s forecasts that indicates Oman’s GDP growth at 4.1 per cent for 2023.

As per the ministry’s estimates, Oman’s economy is expected to grow by 5.5 per cent in 2023 as compared to estimated 5.0 per cent growth in 2022, mainly due to increase in oil and gas production.

Helped by improving fiscal position due to the government reforms and higher oil prices, the sultanate’s sovereign credit ratings were upgraded by various global rating agencies last year.

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