The State Budget for the fiscal year 2018 received the nod from the State Council before raising the same to the Council of Ministers with recommendations of the State Council and Majlis Ash’shura on Tuesday. The session discussions focused on the report prepared by the expanded economic committee composed of the members of the Economic Committee and the heads of the Standing Committees of the Council.
The session chaired by Dr Yahya bin Mahfoudh al Mantheri, State Council Chairman, was held in the presence of members of the Council and Dr Khalid bin Salim al Saidi, Secretary-General of the Council.
The Chairman in his speech praised the efforts of the government and procedures meant to reduce the impact of falling oil prices and its repercussions.
He commended the Supreme Council for its efforts and hoped that it will have a good impact on the development process in the Sultanate.
His Majesty Sultan Qaboos has expressed the importance of the continuation of the approach adopted by the government. This is a sign of His Majesty’s keenness to provide a stable and decent life for the people. This is a very commendable statement by the Government as it moves forward with its current and future plans to achieve appropriate economic growth rates across the governorates.
Shaikh Mohammed bin Abdullah al Harthy, Head of the Economic Committee of the Council, clarified that the expanded economic committee considered it important to focus on the draft budget within the macroeconomic framework to know the developmental effects of the increase or decrease in the budget figures through auditing the financial performance indicators.
It also desired to ascertain the extent of the balance of budget items with their expected results in accordance with the objectives set out in the draft budget consistent with the objectives of the Ninth Five-Year Development Plan in its third year and the national programme of economic diversification.
He pointed out that the report of the expanded economic committee for this year includes eight axes, a doubling since the previous year’s report.
Pointing to the most important characteristic of the draft budget for 2018, Shaikh Mohammed bin Abdullah al Harthy, said that it is the improvement in the indicators of financial viability compared to the actual performance of the budget for the year 2017.
The budget’s requirements act as a catalyst for the macroeconomic, supporting social and economic dimensions to achieve employment, growth and social welfare goals directly. These challenges of different dimensions require better coordination and integration among the competent authorities, with regard to policy clarity, performance indicators and responsibilities.
The Council opined that budget is facing the challenges of balance between expansions of public expenditure and maintaining financial stability, and the need to achieve economic growth on the one hand and maintain financially sustainable levels on the other hand.
Following the conclusion of the report review, the Council on a positive note, expressed its expectation that the draft budget for the year 2019 will contain an in-depth analysis of the success of achieving the objectives of the previous two years’ budgets.
The Council ended the session after looking at several reports. They include, Reading the Global Competitiveness Report, the General Secretariat, report on the Omani Forum for Partnership and Social Responsibility, report on Arab Parliament delegation visit to Iraq in August 2017, and the report of the Assistant Secretariat for meetings and committees for the second annual session for the sixth period.