Oman look­ing at spend­ing cuts in 2017 bud­get

Kuwait Times - - BUSINESS -

Oman’s Fi­nance Min­istry is look­ing at cut­ting ex­pen­di­ture again in the state bud­get for next year to re­duce a deficit caused by low oil prices, sources briefed on the min­istry’s think­ing told Reuters yes­ter­day. A draft bud­get for 2017 fore­sees a 5 per­cent cut in spend­ing from this year’s bud­get, and no in­crease in rev­enues, the sources said. The draft as­sumes an av­er­age oil price of $45 per bar­rel.

The min­istry de­clined to com­ment on its 2017 bud­get plan, which is ex­pected to be re­leased around the end of this year or early next.

The 2016 bud­get en­vis­aged state ex­pen­di­ture of 11.9 bil­lion ri­als - down 11 per­cent from ac­tual spend­ing in 2015 - and rev­enues of 8.6 bil­lion ri­als; of­fi­cials said their 2016 eco­nomic plans also as­sumed an av­er­age oil price of $45. So far, how­ever, the deficit has come in higher than pro­jected, to­talling 4.4 bil­lion ri­als in the first nine months.

Fi­nan­cial Af­fairs Min­is­ter Dar­wish Al-Balushi briefed the Shura Coun­cil, a top ad­vi­sory body to the gov­ern­ment, on the draft bud­get in a closed-door ses­sion last month, the sources said.

Oman cut ben­e­fits for em­ploy­ees of state agen­cies this year as part of its aus­ter­ity drive. The 2017 draft bud­get pro­poses more cuts to pub­lic sec­tor bonuses but fore­sees no im­me­di­ate re­duc­tions to salaries, ac­cord­ing to the sources. — Reuters

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