Oman’s state budget gap widened almost four-fold to OMR320mn ($829mn) in September from OMR81mn the month before on soaring spending, the statistics office said. The positive news, however, is that the cumulative state budget remained in positive territory in January-September, recording a OMR136.1mn surplus despite narrowing from OMR340mn surplus the year before.
Total revenue fell 0.2% y/y to OMR10.46bn at end-September, mainly on lower hydrocarbons proceeds that were partially offset by higher non-hydrocarbons income.
Spending, however, climbed 15% y/y to OMR9.33bn in January-September on surging current expenditure as the government upped wages and compensations. Capital spending also increased over the period but at a milder pace amid government austerity measures. But spending on the military and other public sector civil enterprises remain the main burden on the budget.
The “Actual expenditures under settlement” under the finance ministry’s methodology halved to OMR1bn at end-September.
NOTE: Oman’s finance ministry is using the terminology “Actual expenditures under settlement” which sum is deducted from the total, or gross, budget surplus.
Oil income fell 1.2% y/y to OMR7.8bn while gas proceeds dropped 4.1% y/y to OMR1.05bn. Corporate income tax climbed 12.3% y/y to OMR407mn while customs duties rose 12.1% to OMR156mn.
Current spending jumped 23.2% y/y to OMR5.93bn in January-September split between OMR2.6bn (up 17.1% y/y) on the defence and national security and OMR2.97bn (up 31.1% y/y) on the civil ministries.
Capital spending grew 8.8% y/y to OMR2.2bn at end-September.
Oman’s state budget recorded a OMR267.4mn surplus in 2013, according to final finance ministry data. Total revenue reached OMR14.22bn and spending stood at OMR13.94bn.
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