Muscat: Oman has posted positive results across the country’s financial, economic, and monetary indices in 2021, reveal the latest figures published by the government.
Under the leadership of His Majesty Sultan Haitham Bin Tarik, several indicators have shown positive growth, including gross domestic product (GDP), a decline in deficit, more control over public spending, positive feedback from credit agencies, and a large jump in exports.
“Oman witnessed a decrease in the estimated deficit from OMR4.8 billion – the amount before government measures were taken – to reach OMR1.2 billion in 2021, a decrease of 75 percent,” said the Ministry of Finance in a statement.
“The government was also able to control public spending despite the financial challenges that required the following: adopting financial allocations to confront the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, increasing the absorptive capacity in higher education institutions to 31,000 academic seats, and covering the costs of employment and related training programmes associated with employment.”
Payments worth OMR418 million in financial arrears for previous years were made, alongside dues of OMR1.2 billion to private sector companies, until the end of 2021. Some OMR200 million has also been allocated towards those affected by the damage of Cyclone Shaheen.
Oman’s GDP rose to OMR24.2 billion at the end of the third quarter of 2021. Forecasts pointed to an expected increase to OMR32 billion, with a 13.8 percent growth rate compared to 2020. As a percentage of GDP, the deficit fell from 15.5 percent in 2020 to 3.8 percent in 2021.
“Part of the additional credit was routed to cover the government’s contribution towards capital and operational expenses of the oil and gas sectors due to a delay in procedures to establish Energy Development Oman (EDO),” added the Ministry of Finance.
Oman registered a 68 percent decline in the general debt ratio to GDP, as compared to a planned 83 percent ratio. Furthermore, all credit rating agencies have amended Oman’s future outlook for this year to “stable” and/or “positive” after successive downgrades, which began in 2014.
As of September 2021, commodity exports rose by 42.2 percent September 2021, compared to the corresponding period in 2020, while commodity imports rose by 54.3 percent during the same time frame.
The Central Bank of Oman’s reserves in foreign currency also grew by 31 percent to reach $18 billion till the end of December 2021, compared to about $14 billion by the end of December 2020. Total deposits held by the banking sector rose by 5.3 percent to reach OMR25.2 billion by the end of October 2021, while the total credit balance granted by local banks grew by five percent to OMR27.8 billion during this time frame.
(With inputs from Oman News Agency)