Oman steps to boost business activity praised by Oxford Business Group
January 17, 2018 | 9:36 PM
by ONA
Oman’s GDP is forecast to expand by 3.7 per cent in 2018, well above the GCC average of 2.9 per cent. Photo–ONA

London: A new report published by the London-based Oxford Business Group hailed the series of measures taken by the Sultanate in 2017 to improve the business environment and facilitate private sector growth.

According to the report, the measures included enhancing the online single-window system for exports and imports, thus reducing the time required for documentary compliance and improving cross-border trade; easing processes related to obtaining construction permits; and speeding up the incorporation of businesses and registration of employees.

The report said that these measures helped the Sultanate rank 71st out of 190 countries in the World Bank’s ease of doing business index for 2018, as the Sultanate’s overall score of 67.2 was well above the MENA regional average of 56.7.

“Bolstered by a 10.7 per cent increase in gas revenues to October, the higher hydrocarbons earnings helped Oman narrow its budget deficit to OMR3.2 billion ($8.3 billion) by the end of October, down from OMR4.8 billion ($12.5 billion) in the same period the previous year.

The year-end deficit is expected to reach OMR3 billion ($7.8 billion), according to forecasts from the 2017 budget, down from OMR5.3bn ($13.8bn) in 2016 and on a par with projections for 2018,” the report added.

The report of Oxford Business Group pointed out that the IMF, meanwhile, anticipated flat growth of 0 per cent for Oman in its regional outlook report, also released at the end of October.

However, it added the economy was set to rebound in 2018 on growth in both the oil and non-oil economy; GDP is forecast to expand by 3.7 per cent, well above the Gulf Cooperation Council average of 2.9 per cent.

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