Muscat: Oman is once again on the path to growth, according to economic indicators revealed in government data.
A rise in oil and gas revenue coupled with a spike in Gross Domestic Product meant the Sultanate shrugged off 2017 and entered the new year fighting fit, economically.
“The gross domestic product at current prices by the end of the third quarter of 2017 rose by 10.1 per cent, recording OMR20.3 billion, compared with OMR18.5 billion during the same period of 2016,” the National Centre for Statistical Information (NCSI) stated.
The value added of petroleum activities increased by 23.9 per cent to OMR6.3 billion at the end of the third quarter of 2017, compared with OMR5 billion during the same period of 2016. Non-oil activities rose by 4.9 per cent compared with 2016, recording OMR14.7 billion.
The value added of service activities increased by 5.7 per cent, industrial activities by 2.8 per cent, and agriculture and fish by 5.4 per cent.
In the country’s public financial indicators, the state budget deficit at the end of the third quarter of 2017 decreased by 32.2 per cent to OMR3 billion, compared with OMR4.4 billion during the same period of 2016. Total revenues increased by 20 per cent to OMR6 billion, compared with OMR5 billion in the same period of 2016. “It just shows that the strategy is working. Whether it is from Tanfeedh labs or other commerce plans, we need to continue with this and increase the GDP through non-oil activities in the years to come.
“Omani free zones are doing very well to increase the nation’s output, and all we need now is entrepreneurs coming up to streamline the service sector,” Aamir Patel, a Muscat-based Chartered Accountant, said.
The total public spending increased by 4 per cent to OMR8.4 billion, with a 5.2 per cent increase in current expenditure. Public spending increased by 71.7 per cent of the total public expenditure.
Total interest on loans increased by 286.3 per cent to OMR197.8 million, compared with OMR51.2 million during the same period in 2016, while the increase in your income was 7.2 per cent in return for a decrease of 23.1 per cent in contributions and support.
Oil revenues increased by 27.3 per cent by the end of the third quarter of 2017. Non-oil revenues increased by 2.3 per cent, while the total income tax on companies amounted to OMR332.1 million, down by 6.6 per cent from the same period in 2016.
“The oil market has stabilised since last year and we are looking at better revenues even this year, with oil averaging above $60. So, this is good but Oman’s non-oil revenue needs to grow more. There has been a growth and there can be much more growth, seeing Oman’s potential. So, we are heading in the right direction. If oil stays above $60, we can see confidence returning back to oil markets and more projects and job opportunities coming up,” Mohammed Khalid, GM at Descon Engineering, said.
In terms of foreign trade indices, the trade balance of the Sultanate increased by 48.6 per cent to OMR1.4 billion, compared with OMR9.34 million in the third quarter of 2016. The surplus in the trade balance at the end of the third quarter of 2017 was due to the increase in the value of commodity imports, compared with OMR6.6 billion during the same period in 2016.
The value of oil exports accounted for 58.6 per cent of the total value of exports. Total crude oil exports rose by 21.2 per cent to OMR4.3 billion, while LNG exports rose by 63.3 per cent. The total value of non-oil exports amounted to OMR2.4 billion, an increase of 31.4 per cent compared with the third quarter of 2016.
Exports of the most developed mineral products by the end of the third quarter of 2017 were 51.5 per cent higher than the same period in 2016, followed by chemical products, whose exports increased by 41.9 per cent. The UAE topped the list of importing countries from the
Sultanate, accounting for 22.1 per cent of the Sultanate’s total non-oil exports, and 42.4 per cent of all of Oman’s imports came from the UAE.
The Sultanate’s total commodity imports from the United States by the end of the third quarter of 2017 increased by 140.2 per cent over the same period in 2016. Private sector deposits grew by 5.6 per cent to OMR13.8 billion, compared with OMR13.1 billion during the same period in 2016.
Atul, a resident of Oman, said: “Diversification is a pressing topic at the moment, not just in Oman but in the rest of the GCC as well. So, it is good that the country is on the right track.”
Khalid, an Omani national, added: “More diversification means more jobs for all of us and this is in keeping with the country’s plan. So, I am happy things are progressing in the right direction.”