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Oman Hastens Creation of National Social Protection System

Oman Hastens Creation of National Social Protection System

Friday, 23 October, 2020 - 05:45
Sultan Haitham bin Tariq gives a speech after being sworn in before the royal family council in Muscat, Oman January 11, 2020. REUTERS/Sultan Al Hasani

Oman will hasten the creation of a national social protection system and is looking to carry out development projects worth 371 million Omani rials ($964 million), the state-run Oman News Agency said on Thursday, citing a decision by the sultan.

State media has also affirmed that Sultan Haitham bin Tariq has approved a medium-term fiscal plan to make Oman’s government finances sustainable as the coronavirus crisis and low oil prices batter state coffers.

Sultan Haitham approved a 2020-2024 fiscal plan that included increasing government income from non-oil sectors.

The plan includes a set of programs whose overall goal is to lay down foundations for financial sustainability in the sultanate, cut down debt, raise the efficiency of government spending through prioritizing of financial action, increase government income from non-oil sectors, bolster the state’s financial reserves and improve revenues from government assets to enhance their capacity to address any financial challenges and to channel these revenues into the right course for economic growth and prosperity.

Oman will also accelerate the establishment of a social security system for low-income citizens who may be affected by the government’s drive to bring down the country’s debt and cut state spending.

Sultan Haitham also ordered 371 million Omani rials ($964 million) of unspecified development projects to be carried out across the country.

Rated non-investment grade by all major credit agencies, Oman’s debt climbed to around 60% of gross domestic product at the end of 2019 from less than 5% five years earlier.

On Wednesday it raised $2 billion in its first international bond sale since July 2019.

In other news, Oman's labor minister discussed plans for replacing foreign workers with Omani workers in government-run companies.

The minister discussed the plans, which include a program to give leadership roles to Omani nationals, with the Oman Investment Authority (OIA) and the heads of government-run companies.

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