GDP grew 8 per cent in 2017; fiscal deficit narrowed to about RO 3.8 billion from RO 5.3 billion, says CBO report
Oman’s GDP grew 8.7 per cent during 2017, reflecting an upturn in oil prices and efforts of diversification policies, the Central Bank of Oman said in its annual report. The hydrocarbon and non-hydrocarbon sectors grew by 20.8 per cent and 3.9 per cent during 2017, respectively, indicating a broad-based recovery in the Sultanate.
Hydrocarbon revenues which surged by 19.6 per cent during 2017. The government expenditure declined by 4.9 per cent during 2017, which was a drop for the third year in a row. Consequently, the fiscal deficit narrowed to about RO 3.8 billion in 2017 from RO 5.3 billion during 2016. The government mainly financed the fiscal deficit through external borrowings in view of relatively lower funding cost and to avoid crowding out of the domestic private investment.
The employment provided to Omani nationals by the private sector increased by 7 per cent during 2017. The growth of overall employment in the private sector, however, decelerated to 1.2 per cent in 2017 from an average of 8.5 per cent in the previous two years, mainly on account of lower incremental employment to the expatriates. The private sector has come forward and provided higher employment to Omani nationals, which is notable given the limited employment capacity available in the public sector, the CBO said. The private sector has been creating new and sustainable employment opportunities for Omanis and a further progress in private-sector-led growth would create more such opportunities. The overall employment in the public sector recorded a growth of 1.8 per cent in 2016, marginally higher as compared to 1.6 per cent in 2015 but much lower compared to the average 7.8 per cent during 2013 and 2014.
Omanis employed in the public sector grew by 1 per cent during 2016, while expatriates employed in this sector grew by a more significant of 6 per cent. However, the number of Omanis working in the public sector exceeds that of expatriates by more than five times. The share of Omani employees in the public sector continued to diminish while that of expatriate workforce witnessed a steady rise over the last few years.
The share of Omanis employees in public sector dropped marginally to 83.9 per cent in 2016 from 84.5 per cent during 2015.