Stick to budgets, ministries told

MUSCAT, Jan 7 – The Ministry of Finance (MoF) has said there will not be any more allocations to ministries and government departments other than what has been approved in the budget. “Adhere to the approved budget allocations and control expenditure. There will not be any additional funds,” ministries and government units have been told.
The advisory was given in the budget statement as part of the government efforts to maintain strict fiscal discipline.
“This is in line with the government policies to control expenditure and use the surplus amount for containing the deficit,” opined Lo’ai B Bataineh, Chief Executive Officer at Ubhar Capital.
The budget statement has already hinted that any increase in oil revenue will be used for reducing the accumulated deficit.
According to Bataineh, by curtailing additional and unnecessary expenses the government will be able to further lower its borrowings leading to less interest payments.
Earlier, in its guidelines in the second half of last year, the finance ministry had asked all the government and public sector entities to submit financial plans for 2019 without increasing the scope of their spending in 2019.
The guidelines had also insisted that ministries and government units include all the necessary financial allocations, both new and running projects, in their budget proposals.
The 2019 budget also asks the ministries to halt expansion of their organisational structures along with rationalising energy consumption in both the government premises and street lighting.
The government has taken a set of fiscal adjustment measures aimed at financial sustainability.
“A gradual fiscal adjustment policy is being pursued to avoid any negative consequences over economic and social aspects,” the budget statement said.
The ministries and other public sector units have also been told to give priority
to the implementation of necessary
projects that serve economic and social objectives.
While asking the state-owned enterprises “to promote efficiency in order to enhance their contributions to the economy”, the budget also stresses on the importance of implementing sound corporate governance.