Muscat: Top Omani officials and experts are expected to hold an extended meeting on October 21 to explore solutions and proposals to alleviate the impact of the oil crisis on the national economy.
The Omani government is hoping that the meeting will help foster greater partnership with the private sector, besides enhancing the business and investment environment, according to the daily newspaper Azamn.
Mohsin Al Beloushi, adviser at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, said the slump in the oil prices has had a great impact on the national economy.
The meeting will discuss more alternatives to diversify the national economy amid the drop in oil prices.
The price of Oman crude for September delivery stood at $47.30. The monthly report issued by the Ministry of Oil and Gas pointed out that the production of Oman crude and condensates last September reached 29.7 million barrels, an increase of 0.12 per cent compared to last August.
Earlier, Azamn reported that the government is considering major reforms in order to cut spending and increase revenues amid the oil price slump that has resulted in a significant rise in the country’s deficit.
The measures being studied by the cabinet include the levying of taxes on expatriate remittances, increasing taxes on real estate rent contracts, as well as rises in electricity tariffs, traffic fines, vehicle registration, renewal and insurance fees.
The reported move comes amid a 1.8 billion riyal (Dh17.09 billion) budget deficit so far this year, according to data provided by the Ministry of Finance.
Expatriate remittances stood at 35 billion riyals in the past five years, according to the Ministry of Finance’s figures.
Among other options on the table is reducing allowances for the government employees during official business trips.
With regard to employment, the government is expected to encourage the private sector to hire more Omanis as well as to shrink the number of positions in bloated government bodies.
Fuel subsidies would be scaled back gradually to ensure that the public do not feel the brunt of the price revision, according to the Ministry of Finance.
Subsidies on petroleum products, including petrol and diesel, are estimated to have cost Oman an estimated 900 million riyals (Dh8.56 billion) in 2015, compared to 840 million riyals in 2014.