Oman fiscal jumps 238% in 10 months

Revenues soar by over 25% and expenditure by 28%

Oman’s actual fiscal surplus rocketed by nearly 238 per cent in the first 10 months of 2012 compared with the same period of 2011 after a surge in crude prices and output boosted the Gulf country’s revenue by over 25 per cent.

The budget recorded an actual surplus of RO2.82 billion (Dh27 billion) in the first 10 months of 2012 compared with RO830.1 million (Dh7.9 billion) in the first 10 months of 2011, an increase of 238 per cent, according to official data.

The surplus was mainly a result of a 21.8 per cent increase in oil export earnings to nearly RO8.71 billion from RO7.15 billion due to higher crude prices and growth in Oman’s oil production to 912,000 barrels per day from 884,000 bpd, the Omani Ministry of National Economy said in its latest monthly report.

The price of Oman’s crude soared to an average $116 a barrel from $98 in the same period and this boosted the country’s total actual revenue by about 25.9 per cent to RO11.72 billion from around RO9.31 billion.

Gas revenue, including LNG sales from the liquefaction plant in the southern port of Sur, jumped by 39.1 per cent to RO1.29 billion from RO926.6 million.

Actual public expenditure swelled by nearly 28.1 per cent to about RO8.91 billion from nearly RO6.95 billion, the report showed.

A breakdown showed current expenditure soared by nearly 33.1 per cent while capital spending declined by around 7.4 per cent, mainly in civil ministries development spending and civil ministries capital expenditure. Allocations for oil investment programmes grew by nearly 11.9 per cent in the same period.

The report showed the surge in current spending was mainly due to a massive increase of around 46.9 per cent in crude oil production expenditure to nearly RO247.9 million from RO168.8 million and about 65.2 per cent rise in defence spending to RO2.79 billion from RO1.69 million.

Oman, which is not an OPEC member, recorded a large fiscal surplus of RO864.8 million (Dh9.26 billion) in 2011 due to higher crude prices and output against an actual deficit of about RO48.8 million (Dh468 million) in 2010.

Oman had projected a shortfall of RO850 million when it announced its record 2011 budget early last year. But it massively revised up the gap to RO1,850 million after Sultan Qaboos approved new jobs and hefty pay rises for Omani government employees in response to demands during unrest in February 2011.

The Gulf country, which controls nearly five billions of proven oil reserves, expects to boost spending in its 2011-2015 development plan by a whopping 113 per cent as it expects high oil prices and is pursuing plans to boost crude output.

Announcing its 2012 budget, the government projected record high spending of RO10 billion and revenue at RO8.8 billion, leaving a shortfall of RO1.2 billion.

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