The Omani government will present a list of state-owned firms to be fully or partially privatised together with the new state budget on January 2, 2014, finance minister Darwish al-Balushi was cited as saying by the state news agency ONA.
The government owns more than 60 companies across various economic sectors and some of those firms are well-established with good profit and strong performance, he noted. The government’s two-fold privatization strategy implies allowing the private sector venturing into new projects and reducing the public-sector’s stakes in companies that are fully or partially state-owned, Balushi said.
Among the firms slated for privatisation is the national airliner Oman Air, he added without corroborating further. Oman also plans to offload a 19% stake in the country’s largest mobile operator, Omantel, in a deal that could be worth USD 595mn, according to industry estimates.
The IMF has warned that Oman’s fiscal situation might deteriorate over the next three years. Oman’s state budget might slip into a 3.8% of GDP deficit by 2015, the IMF forecast. The government’s privatisation plans might thus be part of a medium-term consolidation program.
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