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Oman’s 2024 budget projects RO11.6bn spending, RO640mn deficit

2 Jan 2024 By OUR CORRESPONDENT

Muscat – The Ministry of Finance on Monday announced Oman’s state budget for 2024, estimating total public spending at RO11.65bn for this year, reflecting a 2.6% increase compared to the estimated public spending in 2023.

The ministry disclosed that the total estimated revenues for the state’s general budget in 2024 are expected to be RO11.01bn, indicating a 9.5% rise compared to the estimated revenues for 2023.

Oman’s 2024 budget forecasts a deficit of approximately RO640mn, representing 6% of total government revenues and 1.5% of the gross domestic product (GDP).

Addressing a media briefing, H E Sultan bin Salim al Habsi, Minister of Finance, said that oil revenues in the 2024 budget constitute 54% of total revenues, with the gas sector contributing 14%, and non-oil revenues making up 32% of total public revenues.

The estimated revenues for Oman’s 2024 budget are calculated based on an assumed oil price of US$60 per barrel.

H E Habsi mentioned that the estimation of these public revenues is part of a precautionary approach to mitigate the impact of any financial challenges that may arise during the fiscal year 2024 and to ensure that financing needs are met in case of a decline in oil prices.

Furthermore, H E Habsi emphasised that the state’s general budget for 2024 considers a balance between determinants and priorities, aiming to continue paying off public debt, reducing it as much as possible, and improving the business environment.

The budget also aims to expand private sector participation in economic development, support the social aspect by empowering the Social Protection Fund to play its desired role as an umbrella for initiatives aimed at enhancing insurance coverage and social protection for citizens.

Additionally, the budget focuses on maintaining spending levels in essential services such as education, health, and housing.

The Minister of Finance indicated that the government’s total financing needs for the fiscal year 2024, based on the approved oil price in the budget, will amount to RO2.2bn, covering the deficit and expected loan installments to be repaid during this year.

He also highlighted that Oman’s public debt-to-GDP ratio stood at about 35% by the end of 2023, marking a 50% decline compared to its peak in 2020 when the sultanate’s public debt reached about 70% of GDP.

Oman recorded a surplus of RO931mn in its preliminary 2023 estimates, contrasting with the deficit of around RO1.3bn forecasted in the 2023 budget.

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