Omani Minister for Financial Affairs Darwish bin Ismail al-Balushi (C)
Oman today announced that the size of public spending approved in the State General Budget for 2014 amounts to around (RO 13.5) billion, tapping a growth ratio of 5% above last year's approved spending, Oman News Agency
Darwish bin Ismail al-Balushi, Minister Responsible for Financial Affairs, said that the State's total revenues for 2014 amount to (RO 11.7) billion, with a growth rate of (4.5%) compared to last year's approved revenues. Therefore, the deficit for the year 2014 (calculated on the basis of an oil price of US$ 85/barrel) is at (RO 1.8) billion, forming (15%) of revenues and (6%) of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The Minister Responsible for Financial Affairs further said, during the press conference held today to announce the major features of the State General Budget for 2014, that with respect to public spending components, current expenses of about (RO 8.7) billion represent (65%) of total public spending, while salaries and wages (amounting to (RO 5) billion represent (37%) of total public spending.
Al-Balushi added that investment expenditures amount to nearly (RO 3.2 billion), i.e., (24%) of the overall public expenditure are to cover spending on development projects and capital expenses for the production of oil and gas, while subsidy expenses amount to (RO 1.4) billion, (10%) of overall public expenditure.
He explained that oil revenues represent (83%) of total revenues, while non-oil revenues from the remaining (17%) of which almost (50%) is the estimated collection from taxes and fees.
The Minister Responsible for Financial Affairs also talked about the approved spending for social sectors in the Budget saying that the General Budget 2014 includes allocations at a sum of about (RO 9.2) billion to meet social requirements in such field as education, health, housing, training, subsidy and other social services, compared to (RO 8.7) billion in last year's budget, an increase of (RO 465) million and a growth rate of (5.3%).
He pointed out that these allocations will address the following areas: education sector, with an amount of (RO 2.6) billion, constituting a ratio of (18.6%) of the total public expenditure, internal and external training programs with an amount of (RO 95) million and health sector, amounting to (RO 1.3) billion, (9%) of the total public expenditure.
Al-Balushi added that allocations of social security and welfare stood at (RO 133) million to cover pensions and social welfare while the housing sector, with an amount of (RO 2.8) billion, of which a sum of (RO 138) million for the human assistance program supervised by the Ministry of housing, which include building houses across the Sultanate's wilayats and the provision of soft housing loans, in addition to an amount of (RO 80) million to Oman's Housing Bank's Housing loans Program.
He explained that allocations for subsidies and exemptions stood at (RO 1.8) billion, which include subsidies for interests on housing and development loans, electricity, water, fuel and some basic food commodities .