Muscat city
A view of the Muscat city. Image Credit: Supplied

Oman made a rare decision to cut the salaries of new government employees, its latest austerity measure in response to the coronavirus pandemic and low oil prices.

The biggest Arab oil exporter outside OPEC assigned new salary grades for hires, as determined by qualifications. A PhD holder's entry level salary would be reduced 23 per cent to 1,035 rials ($2,689), while those with a bachelor's degree would face a cut of 14 per cent to 785 rials, the Civil Service Council said on Sunday.

Oman last raised civil servants' salaries in 2013.

The sultanate plans to cut spending in all civil, military and security ministries and units for 2020 by 10 per cent to mitigate the effects of low oil prices and narrow its budget deficit.

Oman also announced a decision on Sunday to liquidate its 31 per cent share in GlassPoint Solar. The decision comes after the sharp fall in oil and gas prices caused by the global economic slowdown in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, Oman news agency said, citing a statement from State General Reserve Fund.

Austerity measures in neighboring Saudi Arabia included tripling value-added tax to 15% and lowering a cost-of-living allowance paid to government workers. Oman is yet to implement VAT.

On Monday, Oman reported 193 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total tally to 5,379.

- Inputs from Bloomberg, Reuters