Light at the end of tunnel for Sultanate

Energy Saturday 18/February/2017 21:51 PM
By: Times News Service
Light at the end of tunnel for Sultanate

Muscat: A new airport, the introduction of VAT and diversifying away from oil dollars should leave Oman in with a fighting chance to banish austerity in 2018, experts agree.
The economy should rebound by 2018, according to an international report and a number of global analysts.
Deficit cuts, reducing dependence on oil and investment in infrastructure will all play their part in propelling Oman into 2018 ready to grow again.
Thanks to a prudent budget, fiscal discipline and structural reforms, together with a growing tourism sector and connected projects, the economy is forecasted to register a high GDP growth and low deficit as public sector spending is reinstated by 2018, according to a MENA report by the International Institute of Finance (IIF).
The study shows a 4.6 per cent spike in real GDP growth in the Sultanate and the fiscal deficit falling sharply to 6 per cent of the GDP in 2018, compared to 1.3 per cent of real GDP growth and a deficit of 21 per cent of GDP last year. Break-even oil prices are also expected to fall to $72 a barrel this year, down from $105 in 2014 and further testament to Oman’s drive to steer the country away from its dependence on oil.
Oman has rigorously pursued infrastructure development to complement logistics and tourism in the country. The sixth package of the Batinah Expressway opened recently and, according to officials, the new airport is 96 per cent complete and expected to be operational by the end of the year, after a series of deferred launch dates since 2015.
The expanding Port of Duqm is expected to operate at full capacity by 2020 while the railway network connecting mineral rich area of Shuwaymiyah with Duqm port is likely to be ready by 2021 following the Tanfeedh initiative, a government think-tank designed to future-proof Oman.