While the Mideast battles crises, Oman quietly adds 225 new millionaires to its sultan club
Economic boom in the Sultanate has made staggering 225 new millionaires in the last five years, the banking and trade statistics from the ministry of commerce show.
On top of the list is money made from the oil and gas industry followed by the property market and the Muscat Securities Market's shares. Also, new millionaires were created by many deals that involved big payouts during industry sellout and acquisitions.
"Global business interest in Oman has injected a lot of money into the economy. Foreign companies in the hydrocarbon industry have awarded a lot of contracts to the newly created Omani establishments. A majority of them have resulted from the production-sharing pact in the oil sector,- Salim Ambusaidi, an independent economist, told Times of Oman.
Ministry of oil and gas has signed a number of production-sharing agreements with international energy majors to boost production. According to the official statistics, foreign oil companies have invested about $800 million in the explorations of oil and gas in various blocks awarded by the government's concession agreements since 2007.
Another factor accounting for the rising tide of Omani millionaires is the government spending which has been rising on an average of six per cent a year since 2007.
Big infrastructure projects in road constructions, power plants, airports, health and education sectors have given the private sector a shot in the arm. For the first time in Oman's economic history, the government spending has reached RO10 billion in 2012.
On the other hand, Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) has awarded contracts worth RO900 million in the last five years to community contractors, giving a lift to local businessmen in various regions of the country.
"Don't forget the property boom that has prevailed in the last 5-6 years. It has made a lot of people rich with their net worth going up beyond the million rials level,- Abdulaziz Al Rahbi, a financial analyst at Capital Investments, said.
The Sultanate's economy has been growing at an annual rate of five per cent in the recent years and is predicted to maintain that pace in the medium term.
However, some economists warn that the country's economy could overheat as inflation rises to unsustainable levels.
"With the new money coming into the market, inflation could be a problem. We are already having a six per cent average annual inflation during the last five years and that may rise to put brakes on the economic boom,- Ambusaidi said.