Salary cap raised for fuel subsidy

MUSCAT, June 11 – To allow more citizens to get the benefits of the fuel subsidy system, the Council of Ministers on Monday raised the ceiling on salaries for eligibility. According to a decision taken by the council, Omani citizens above the age of 18 years and earning RO 950 per month will be entitled to the subsidy support. “The decision follows recommendations by a national committee that studied the effects of liberalisation of fuel prices in the country,” said a statement from the Council of Ministers on Monday.
The new decision will be effective from August 1. Those who meet the requirements to get the subsidy may register at www.nss.gov.om. The committee recommended that the base for eligibility be expanded to RO 950 from RO 600, the statement added. The subsidy system, which started in January, is part of a government social security safety net plan for citizens adversely affected by the removal of fuel subsidies. It allowed 200 litres of subsidised fuel every month. This month, M91 petrol is costing the consumers 215 baisas per litre, up from 212 baisas per litre in May.
At the same time, M95 petrol is priced at 226 baisas per litre for June, an increase from 222 baisas per litre, while the price of diesel is now 249 baisas per litre, up from 245 baisas per litre in May.
Analysts attribute the new decision to the increasing revenue from oil.
“The government will certainly get a boost from the rising oil revenue, which will, in turn, lead to a very positive impact on the country,” said an analyst with a leading brokerage firm. According to data from National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI), the average price of Oman crude oil increased by 24.8 per cent at the end of March 2018 to reach $62.9 per barrel, compared with $50.4 a barrel by the end of March 2017.
This is a result of improving government finances after a 58-per cent increase in international oil benchmark Brent over the last year to more than $76.

SAMUEL KUTTY