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Oman announces 2015 budget with 8 % deficit, slant on infrastructure, privatization

Staff Writer | Jan 01 2015

Oman on Thursday approved its budget for 2015 with a deficit of 8 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP).

The Omani Ministry of Finance said in a statement that the general budget for the fiscal year 2015 is estimated as general expenditure at 14.1 billion Omani riyals (Dh 134.5 billion), an increase of 4.5 per cent from the expenditure estimations of last year’s estimates. The total public revenues were estimated at 11.6 billion riyals, a decline of 1 per cent compared to the approved revenue last year. Hence the estimated deficit of 2015 is 2.5 billion riyals, representing 21 per cent of the revenues and 8 per cent of gross domestic product. Sultan Qaboos Bin Saeed, the Sultan of Oman on Thursday approved the state budget for fiscal year 2015. This came in a royal decree issued by Sultan Qabous and carried by the Oman News Agency.

The construction industry is likely to be vastly benefited from the expansionary investment program outlined in the budget 2015-16. The details are outlined below as quoted from the Budget speech by the Oman Observer:

Following are some of the most prominent investment projects- across main sectors- that will be implemented directly by the government or through its companies during the year 2015 which bring prospects and opportunities to stimulate the economic activity in the Sultanate and create plenty of jobs opportunities:-Execution of the railway project (Sohar-Al Buraimi phase);-Execution of Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the dualization of Adam- Thamrait road;-Executing Fishery Industries Complex project in Duqm;-Executing the infrastructural works for the commercial and governmental quays at Duqm Port;-The project of new residential city for the people of the wilayat of Liwa;-Completing the wastewater network in Muscat Governorate;- Establishment of the wastewater plants at various Wilayats;-Investment projects of the Oman Food Investment Holding Co in the fields of poultry, Meat and Dairy products, etc;-The infrastructure development project to increase aquaculture production;-Projects of Oman Tourism Development Company (OMRAN) mainly constructing (3) hotels (4 & 5 stars) in Muscat Governorate, as well as completing Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre project;-Projects of Oman Oil Refineries & Petroleum Industries (Orpic): Liwa Plastics Industries Complex and Muscat-Sohar Product Pipeline project.

Spending allocated to social aspects:Budget allocations includes financial allocations of RO 9 billion- same as last year’s- to meet the social requirements in the fields of education, health, housing, training, support and other social services as follows:1) Education sector amounting to RO 3 billion, representing (21, 3%) of total public spending, comprising opening and operating (41) new schools in several parts of the Sultanate;2) Internal and external training programs at RO 95 million;3) Health sector with allocations amounting to RO 1,6 billion representing (11,3 %) of the total spending. It includes opening and operating (11) new hospitals and health centers in different parts of the Sultanate;4) Allocations for social insurance welfare amounting to RO (129) million;5) Housing Sector at RO 2.3 billion, of which RO 55 million for housing assistance programs supervised by the Ministry of Housing. This includes construction of new houses in different Wilayats plus an amount of RO 15 million to provide easy housing loans. In addition, RO 15.4 million for housing loans program of the Oman Housing Bank;6) RO 1.8 billion for subsidies and exemptions including subsidies for interests on housing and development loans beside subsidy for electricity, water, fuel and some basic foodstuffs.

A plan to privatize a number of state-owned companies is currently being prepared for implementation over the coming three years (2015-2017). The execution of this plan will start immediately upon approval.

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