Budget deficit narrows to RO 2.6 billion

Oman’s budget deficit narrowed down to RO 2.6 billion by the end of July this year. This has been revealed in the state financial position report submitted at the fourth Financial Affairs and Energy Resources Council meeting of the year held here on Wednesday. The meeting was held under the chairmanship of Darwish bin Ismaeel al Balushi, Minister Responsible for Financial Affairs and Deputy Chairman of Financial Affairs and Energy Resources Council.
Financial performance indicators during the first seven months of the current fiscal year including the actual and realised oil prices, the actual revenues and the expenditure levels also came up for discussion during the meeting.
The Sultanate achieved gross revenues growth to a little bit more than RO 4 billion in the first half of 2017.
The state budget seeks to achieve RO 8.7 billion revenues this year. The non-oil and non-tax revenues grew to RO 748.2 million compared to RO 532.7 million at the first half of last year, registering a growth by 40.5 per cent.
According to information, the meeting also made review of the initial estimates for the state budget for 2018, as well as the bases and assumption on which estimates could be made, especially in view of the oil price malaise.
Also discussed were a number of measures that aim at improving non-oil revenues and reducing the expenditure to curtail the growing state budget deficit.
“These measures will be presented to the council at its next meeting after completing its study with the relevant authorities to prepare for its approval at the draft state budget for the fiscal year 2018,” said Oman News Agency quoting officials who attended the meeting.
The council also watched a presentation on the outcome of a study prepared on the national energy strategy including diversification of energy sources, the future trends to ensure electricity supplies up to
2030 and the measures to be taken.
The council approved the recommendations of the study including making 10 per cent at minimum for renewable energy by 2025, it is learnt.
The performance of the State Reserve Fund and Oman Investment Fund till June 2017 was also discussed.
Other issues came for discussion was a circular on the developments of the global oil market which pointed out to a constant growth of the world demand for oil at the second half of 2017, but with slow
pace.
The circular also covered the future of oil after 2040 in light of technological development witnessed by the world in transportation means.
The council also reviewed a number of other issues and took appropriate decisions in their regard.

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