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Oman budget deficit down sharply year-on-year in July

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Oman posted a year-to-date budget deficit of 1.2 billion rials ($3.13 billion) in July, a 22.2 percent annual decline in its fiscal shortfall, the ministry of finance said, as the country starts reaping the benefits of fiscal consolidation reforms.

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Oman’s revenues increased marginally by 0.5 percent in the year to the end of July when compared to the same period in 2020, while oil revenues went up by 3.4 percent on the back of a rebound in crude prices after the coronavirus-driven slump in 2020.

“As fiscal consolidation continues, the public spending continues to decline,” the ministry said in a statement on Thursday. Total spending was down by 4.7 percent in the year to July, compared to the same period a year earlier.

The oil-producing Gulf state has embarked on a raft of measures in the past year to fix its debt-burdened finances and has asked the International Monetary Fund to provide technical assistance on its debt strategy.

The reforms - which included the launch of a value-added tax - have helped Oman raise billions of dollars in bonds and loans this year despite a yawning 2020 deficit of 19.3 percent of gross domestic product caused by lower oil prices and the coronavirus crisis.

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