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EDITOR IN CHIEF- ABDULLAH BIN SALIM AL SHUEILI

Basic services to get lion’s share in budget

In 2021, the government committed a spending provision of RO 3.6 billion to maintaining basic services of education, health, housing and social welfare.
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Muscat: Oman Budget 2022, drafted in alignment with the 10th Five Year Plan and priorities in Oman Vision 2040, envisages increased spending on basic services like education, health and social welfare.


“The budget aims to achieve a number of economic and social goals, among them maintaining safe levels of government spending, giving priority to projects of economic and social objectives and finalising digital transformation, to name a few”, said Sultan bin Salem bin Saeed al Habsi, Minister of Finance, last week.


The total general revenues of the State Budget 2022 are estimated to be six per cent higher than revenues expected to be collected by the end of 2021.


Oil revenues are calculated on the basis of $50 a barrel, compared with $45 in 2021, and the volume of general expenditure estimated for fiscal year 2022 stands at about RO 12.1 billion, with an expected two per cent increase in spending during 2022.


The ministry estimates that the country achieved a 56 per cent increase in net oil revenue and a 40 per cent uptick in natural gas income in 2021 from a year earlier.


According to Abdullah Salim Al Harthi, Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Finance, the spending of civil ministries in 2022 is estimated at RO 4.3 billion.


"One of the most important pillars of the state's general budget for 2022 is maintaining safe and sustainable levels of public spending, while continuing to raise non-oil revenue contributions, and giving priority to the implementation of projects related to the productive sectors and others," al Harthy said.


Spending on basic services such as education, health care, housing and social welfare are expected to be higher than the 2021 budget which represented over 40 per cent of the current spending. In 2021, the government committed a spending provision of RO 3.6 billion to maintaining basic services of education, health, housing and social welfare.


Speaking at a media briefing, he said that the state budget 2022, which targets safe and sustainable levels of spending, gives priority to productive sectors.


Al Harthy added that government investment spending during 2022 will reach RO 5 billion.


While there are no plans to raise the value-added tax rate, the budget will include periodic bonuses for state employees. Steps will be continued to be taken to create as many as 27,000 job opportunities annually for citizens, in addition to the expatriate replacement initiative by the Ministry of Labor.


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