Muscat: Performance of the national economy in 2017 has been positive in a number of economic indicators. The Sultanate managed to achieve the targeted public revenues for the first half this year as the gross revenues grew to a little bit more than OMR 4 billion. The state budget seeks to achieve OMR 8.7 billion public revenues this year.
The registered revenues at the first half this year reflected the government efforts to diversify sources of income and reduce reliance on oil. The non-oil and non-tax revenues grew to OMR 748.2 million compared to OMR 532.7 million in the first half of last year, registering a growth by 40.5 per cent.
The oil revenues (oil and gas) witnessed a remarkable growth to hit OMR 2.8 billion compared to OMR 2.1 billion at the corresponding period last year. The tax revenues (custom and corporate income tax) declined from OMR 473 million to OMR 394.8 million.
Since the oil price drop mid 2014, the Sultanate has taken a number of measures to support the public finance, continue economic growth and diversify sources of national economy. These measures have reflected on the public expenditure, which declined to OMR 6.4 billion or by OMR 172.2 million compared to the same period last year. The state budget estimates the public expenditure for this year at OMR 11.7 billion.
This year, the Sultanate managed to provide the necessary finance to OMR 3 billion estimated deficit at this year's budget through local and foreign borrowing, as well as withdrawing from public reserves.
As for the GDP, the national economy witnessed good growth. The GDP grew by 12.9 per cent at the current prices to hit OMR 6.4 billion compared to OMR 5.7 billion at the same period last year. The GDP for oil activities grew by 30.6 per cent to cross OMR 2 billion compared to OMR 1.5 billion at the first quarter last year. The non-oil activities grew by 5.3 per cent to stay at OMR 4.6 billion; a growth by OMR 231 million compared to the first quarter last year. The commodity experts at the first quarter this year grew by 3.10 per cent to hit OMR 2.8 billion compared to OMR 2.5 billion during the same period last year benefiting from the growth of the oil activities by 28.4 per cent, which stood at OMR 1.7 billion. The non-oil exports also grew by 14 per cent to hit OMR 751.8 million.
Official statistics pointed out that the imports through marine and air ports witnessed a good activity. The value of imports through marine ports grew by 4.2 per cent to hit OMR 1.1 billion. The value of air imports increased from OMR 225.9 million to OMR 568.3 million.
The Sultanate seeks to increase direct import from the producing countries in a way that contributes to stability of prices and reduces the cost of land shipping. The value of imports though land ports at the first quarter this year declined by 12.3 per cent to stay at OMR 665.1 million compared to OMR 758.1 million at the same period last year. This made the Sultanate achieve low inflation levels – 1.6 per cent at the end of July 2017.