Muscat: Oman’s government has chalked out plans to increase its revenue to more than OMR12 billion by 2024, as part of its efforts for continued economic development in the future.
Created by the Ministry of Finance, the National Plan for Fiscal Balance 2020-2024 seeks to boost government revenues to OMR12.095 billion by 2024, compared to its current figure of OMR8.6 billion.
During this period, public expenditure is expected to slightly contract from its current level of OMR12.66 billion, to OMR12.632 billion.
Also known as the medium-term fiscal balance plan, these objectives are to be achieved through five pillars of action: supporting economic growth, revitalising and diversifying government revenue sources, rationalising and raising the efficiency of government spending, strengthening the social protection system, and raising the efficiency of public financial systems.
Some of the steps involved in increasing revenue include taxation in the form of income tax to high earners, and value-added tax, encouraging more tourists to visit Oman by providing visa exemptions to people from more than 100 countries, and creating a business environment that encourages investment and more private sector involvement.
Other measures include improved returns on government investment plans, reviewing labour market processes to make it easier to do business in the country, creating a unified framework to regulate all government fees, and bringing in more e-government initiatives to make it easier for people to reach public organisations when required.
The main objective of this plan is to reduce the Sultanate’s annual deficit to sustainable levels, and make sure public debt levels decline. It was created in response to the financial situation caused by the drop in oil prices, and its associated consequences.
According to the Ministry of Finance, taking these steps will help the debt-to-GDP ratio reach 80 per cent by 2024, compared to the 128 per cent, if they are not implemented.
The medium-term fiscal balance plan aims to also help get the country out of its situation of continuous financial decline, and provide a financial framework to help achieve the objectives of Oman Vision 2040.
These are economic diversification and financial sustainability, welfare and social protection, and the role played by the state apparatus.
The role of the private sector, as well as the importance of investments and international cooperation, has been emphasised as part of Oman Vision 2040, as these elements will play a key role in economic development.