MUSCAT: Oman’s Ministry of Finance unveiled on Sunday, January 1, 2023, a deficit budget for 2023 which, nevertheless, reflected the Omani government’s continued commitment to maintaining fiscal stability, while supporting socio-economic growth.
Total revenue for fiscal 2023 is projected at RO 10.500 billion, which is about 5 per cent lower that the 2022 Budget figure. Public expenditure is estimated at RO 11.350 billion, representing a 6.4 per cent decrease in comparison with the 2022 figure. The deficit for the year is projected at RO 1.300 billion, representing 3 per cent of GDP.
Thanks to buoyant oil and gas prices, revenues for fiscal 2022 were up 34.5 per cent to RO 14.234 billion, compared to projections announced at the start of the year. It resulted in a surplus of RO 1.146 billion for the year, sparing the government any need to resort to borrowings or withdrawals from state reserves this year.
Contributing to the growth in public revenues is a sharp increase in oil prices averaging $94 per barrel in 2022 versus an assumed price of $50 per barrel for the 2022 State Budget. Consequently, oil revenues were up 66 per cent, while gas revenues rose 29 per cent during the year.
Public expenditure climbed 7.9 per cent to reach RO 13.88 billion, compared to the approved expenditure of RO 12.130 billion announced at the start of the year.
The strong growth in revenue contributed to accelerating Oman’s economic recovery, improving financial and economic indicators, reducing public debt, enhancing social spending, and stimulating economic growth in general.
It also enabled the government to pay off part of the public debt and manage its lending portfolio. The size of public debt was slashed from RO 20.8 billion at the end of 2021 to RO 17.7 billion in 2022.
At the same time, the Ministry underlined the government’s commitment to supporting the growth of the manufacturing, fisheries, mining and logistics sectors during the current 10th Five Year Development Plan.
It affirmed an important role for the private sector in enhancing the growth of education, scientific research and innovation. In particular, the green economy – a key objective of Oman Vision 2040 – has the potential to contribute to human welfare and social equity, while also safeguarding the environment by reducing carbon emissions.
The green economy, the Ministry noted, encompasses six key goals: Green buildings, renewable energy, sustainable transportation, water management, land management and waste management.
Importantly the most important strategic objectives of the Sultanate of Oman is to promote sustainable development and preserve human capital, as well as achieving balanced development for the governorates and enhancing the standard of living of citizens.