The Ministry of Finance announced on Monday that the projected total revenues for Oman's general budget in the fiscal year 2024 are estimated to reach OMR11.010 billion, marking a 9.5 percent increase from the 2023 estimates. This calculation is based on an assumed oil price of $60 per barrel, as disclosed during a media briefing by the Ministry.
The total public spending for the state's general budget in 2024 is expected to be OMR11.650 billion, representing a 2.6 percent increase over the anticipated public spending in 2023. This expenditure includes debt servicing costs, which amount to approximately OMR1.050 billion.
The estimated budget deficit for 2024 stands at around OMR640 million, constituting 6 percent of total revenues and 1.5 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP). Sultan Salim Al Habsi, the Minister of Finance, emphasized that the budget aims to strike a balance between various factors and priorities, with a focus on reducing public debt while enhancing the business environment and promoting private sector participation in economic development.
Oil revenues are projected to contribute 54 percent to the 2024 budget, while the gas sector's share is 14 percent, and non-oil revenues make up 32 percent of total public revenues. Al Habsi highlighted that this revenue estimate is part of a precautionary approach to address potential financial challenges and ensure funding needs are met in case of a decline in oil prices.
The Minister of Finance emphasized that the government's measures, supported by positive credit rating reports, have led to a decrease in interest rates on loans. The total debt service payments from 2020 to the end of 2023 amounted to OMR4.062 billion. Al Habsi outlined the utilization of financial surpluses to pay off a significant portion of debts and implement postponed development projects, particularly in sectors such as education, health, and social housing.
In line with the 10th Five-Year Plan and "Oman Vision 2040," the budget allocates funds to economic diversification initiatives, governorate development projects, and the launch of the Oman Future Fund with a capital of OMR2 billion. Additionally, a housing program named 'Iskan' with a total value of up to OMR1.9 billion will be introduced to expedite loan disbursements through Oman Housing Bank.