Oman adopts measures to finance $1 billion budget deficit
After approving a 400 million Omani rial ($1.04 billion) deficit in its 2003 budget, the Sultanate of Oman is now seeking to finance the shortfall, attributed to a drop in crude sales, by borrowing OR300 million from local and foreign financial institutions, by drawing on state reserves and finally by adopting measures that are hoped to raise the state’s non-oil revenues.
These measures include imposing a road tax, hiking petrol prices and reducing public spending. The government also pledged to step up efforts to privatize state-run companies during fiscal year 2003, naming the Oman Cement Company, Oman Flour Mills and several power plants. Oman is currently in the process of partially privatizing its telecommunications sector.
Oman’s national budget for the upcoming FY2003 carries an OR400-million deficit, up from the OR380-million deficit forecasted for the previous FY2002. The shortfall is largely attributed to a decrease in the sultanate's crude output from 763,000 barrels per day (bpd) in 2002 to 703,000 bpd this coming year.
In 2003, the Sultanate anticipates total revenues of OR2.6 billion, more than 70 percent of which to be derived from oil, based on an average oil price of $20 a barrel. The non-OPEC oil producer expects state expenditures to reach three billion OR, up by 4.5 percent on 2002. — (menareport.com)
© 2003 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)