The governor of the Sultanate of Oman, Sultan Qabous Bin Said Sultan, has approved the nation’s sixth five-year economic plan, which will run though 2005.
Quoted by Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, Ahmed Abdul-Nabey Makki, the Minister of National Economy, said that the plan is designed to lay the groundwork for Oman economic through 2020, and includes long-term goals, policies and challenges.
It aims to provide better standard of living for Oman’s residents, to ensure 3 percent per annum average growth, with a special emphasis on providing jobs to nationals.
Concurrently, Makkieh unveiled Oman’s general state budget for the year 2001. It includes a 9.16 percent in the deficit from the 2000 budget, from RO 349 million to RO 317 million.
The budget is characterized by a strong emphasis on growth, with allocations for investment expenditure set at RO 525 million, 7.27 percent from RO489.4 million in 2000.
In terms with the five-year plan, human resources was afforded special attention. Total expenditure in the education sector will stand at RO 304.88 million, in the health sector at RO 133.06 million, and in social security and welfare at RO 54.09 million.
Makki said that the five-year economic development stresses the development of Oman’s job market, education system, training facilities, housing, and health and social care sectors. These sectors reflect the standards of living in any developed society throughout the globe, he stated.
Unsurprisingly, about 75 percent of the total revenue is estimated from oil, although the government is expecting significant income through the privatization of state-owned concerns.
In estimating the budget, an $18 per barrel base price was used, which, while up from the $14.50 used at the start of 2000, is still conservatively below the current price of oil on the world markets.
Total revenues are expected to increase by 19.32 percent to RO 2.495 billion, compared with RO 2.091 billion in 2000.
Net oil revenues are forecast to increase by 24.41 percent to RO 1.875 billion, from RO 1.507 in 2000. Natural gas revenue is estimated to rise to RO 74 million, from RO 70 million in 2000.
Over the coming budget year, the Omani government is planning to set up a postal regulatory authority, which will be charged with studying alternatives for better postal services, which may include the participation of the private sector. – (Albawaba-MEBG)
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )