Oman’s Sultan to Use Oil Windfall to Cut Public Debt

Ruler of Oman, Sultan Haitham bin Tariq on Thursday revealed a plan to use the revenues from soaring oil prices to trim its public debt and boost spending on development projects.

“We will seek to exploit the high oil revenues as much as possible to get rid of the state’s public debt and what is left will be spent on development projects,” Sultan Haitham said, according to the state-run Oman News Agency.

Sultan Haitham said that oil and energy prices started to rise and this is a “comfortable thing for Oman because we are an oil-exporting country.”

Last year, Oman implemented a series of reforms to balance its budget and lower its debt, including the introduction of value-added tax.

The Sultanate’s Finance Ministry in January projected a budget deficit of $3.9 billion for this year, based on oil prices at $50 a barrel.

Fitch Solutions in its report in January said that the Sultanate is expected to boost crude production to 1.1 million barrels per day in 2022 from an average of 957,000 bpd last year.

“At $18.6bn in 2021, official reserves are sufficient to cover around six months of imports. We believe that the outlook for the current account means that reserves will continue to accumulate while the external debt load is likely to edge lower from current levels in the short to medium term,” the report added.

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