Oman fiscal surplus triples in 9 months

Revenues soar by 31.5% and expenditure by 32.5%

Oman’s actual fiscal surplus more than tripled in the first nine months of 2012 compared with the same period of 2011 after a surge in crude prices and output boosted the Gulf country’s total revenue by over 31 per cent.

Official data showed the budget recorded an actual surplus of RO2.98 billion (Dh28.5 billion) in the first nine months of 2012 compared with RO925.6 million (Dh8.88 billion) in the first nine months of 2011, an increase of 213 per cent.

The surplus was mainly a result of a 27 per cent increase in oil export earnings to nearly RO8.11 billion from RO6.38 billion due to higher crude prices and growth in Oman’s oil production to 910,000 barrels per day from 883,000 bpd, the Omani Ministry of National Economy said in its monthly report.

The price of Oman’s crude soared to an average $115 a barrel from $98 in the same period and this boosted the country’s total actual revenue by about 31.6 per cent to RO10.94 billion from around RO8.31 billion.

Gas revenue, including LNG sales from the liquefaction plant in the southern port of Sur, jumped by 51.8 per cent to RO1.22 billion from
RO806.6 million.

Actual public expenditure soared by nearly 32.5 per cent to about RO8.041 billion from nearly RO6.07 billion, the report showed.

A breakdown showed current expenditure rocketed by nearly 31.7 per cent while capital spending declined by around 10.7 per cent, mainly in civil ministries development spending and civil ministries capital expenditure. Allocations for oil investment programmes grew by nearly 3.4 per cent in the same period.

The report showed the surge in current spending was mainly due to a massive increase of around 53 per cent in crude oil production expenditure to nearly RO247.1 million from RO161.5 million and about
63.3 per cent rise in defence spending to RO2.50billion from RO1.53 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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