An oil tanker cruises towards the Strait of Hormuz off the shores of Khasab in Oman on January 15, 2012
An oil tanker cruises towards the Strait of Hormuz off the shores of Khasab in Oman on January 15, 2012. Oman announced Wednesday a $33.54-billion budget for 2013, increasing spending by $7.5 billion over last year's forecasts, and keeping deficit at five percent of the gross domestic product. Public expenditure in the oil-producing sultanate in 2013 has been set at 12.9 billion rials. © Marwan Naamani - AFP/File
An oil tanker cruises towards the Strait of Hormuz off the shores of Khasab in Oman on January 15, 2012
AFP
Last updated: January 2, 2013

Oman raises spending in 2013 budget

Oman announced Wednesday a $33.54-billion budget for 2013, increasing spending by $7.5 billion over last year's forecasts, and keeping deficit at five percent of the gross domestic product.

Public expenditure in the oil-producing sultanate in 2013 has been set at 12.9 billion rials ($33.54 billion), which is 2.9 billion rials more than last year's budgeted spending, Finance Minister Darwish al-Balushi told reporters.

He said that revenues are forecast to reach 11.2 billion rials ($29.12 billion), up from 8.8 billion rials ($22.85 billion) last year.

Deficit is expected to amount to 1.7 billion rials ($4.4 billion), or five percent of the GDP, he said.

The price of oil, which is expected to contribute 72 percent of revenues in the non-OPEC country, was calculated at $75 per barrel, a conservative estimate that usually allows the Gulf state to enjoy a surplus.

In 2012, an oil price of $109 per barrel propped revenues up to around 14 billion rials ($36.4 billion), allowing for an increase in spending to around 13 billion rials ($33.8 billion), the minister said.

He said that a budget surplus of around one billion rials ($2.6 billion) will be channeled to fund part of this year's deficit.

Balushi said that current spending represents 63 percent of the budget, including 3.6 billion rials ($9.4 billion) for defence and security.

The normally sleepy sultanate was caught up in the 2011 protests which swept the Arab world, with demonstrators taking to the streets to demand improved living conditions and reforms.

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