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Arab News, Sun, Tue, May 14, 2024 | Dhu al-Qadah 6, 1445

Oman’s public debt slightly declines to $39bn

Oman: Oman’s public debt stood at 15.1 billion Omani rials ($39.23 billion) by the end of March, marking a slight decrease from 15.3 billion rials at the close of 2023. 

This update comes as the Ministry of Finance disbursed over 206 million rials in dues to the private sector through the financial system during the first quarter of the year, the Oman News Agency reported. 

Recent developments in the public debt domain have been positive, according to ONA. This is thanks to continued government measures aimed at rationalizing spending, diversifying revenue sources, and directing additional revenues toward debt repayment. 

These efforts, including the repurchasing of sovereign bonds, settling high-cost loans, and issuing local sukuk and bonds for trading on the Muscat Stock Exchange, have contributed to an improvement in Oman’s credit rating and future outlook, according to ONA.

International credit rating agencies have praised the government’s efforts in managing financial obligations and reducing the size of public debt, the agency reported. 

However, the Ministry of Finance’s financial performance data for the first quarter indicated a 12 percent decrease in the state’s public revenues, primarily due to reductions in net oil and gas revenues.  

By the end of March, revenues had amounted to around 2.8 billion rials, down from 3.2 billion rials in the same period of 2023. 

Net oil revenues also saw a marginal 1 percent decrease, totaling 1.6 billion rials compared to 1.7 billion rials in the first quarter of last year.  

Meanwhile, net gas revenues experienced a significant 38 percent decline, amounting to 444 million rials, down from 720 million rials in the corresponding period of 2023. 

Public spending until the end of the first quarter of 2024 amounted to 2.6 billion rials, reflecting a decrease of 103 million rials, or 4 percent, compared to the actual spending during the same period of the previous year. 

Similarly, current expenditures of civil ministries totaled about 1.97 billion rials, a decrease of 49 million rials compared to the first quarter of 2023.  

Total contributions and other expenditures reached 486 million rials, marking a 78 percent increase compared to 273 million rials during the same period last year. 

This increase is mainly attributed to the social protection system, with support for petroleum products of 72 million rials and 140 million rials, respectively.

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