Oman’s 2013 budget will be based on an oil price assumption of $85/B, up from $75/B in 2012, according to a draft of next year’s budget discussed by the Financial Affairs and Energy Resources Council and due to submitted to the cabinet shortly. The draft budget will continue to focus on promoting economic growth and meeting the needs of social development in the country. The council reviewed estimates of revenues, expenditures and the deficit, as well as the basic assumptions to accommodate the requirements of the five-year development plan. Total spending under the plan was first set at OR43bn ($111.8bn), but was raised to OR54bn ($140.4bn) to accommodate extra social spending, including unemployment benefits (MEES, 16 January).

The 2012 budget projections estimated revenue at OR8.8bn ($22.9bn), expenditure at OR10bn ($26bn) and a resulting deficit of OR1.2bn ($3.1bn). But with a higher oil price than the $75/B projected for 2012, the budget will end up with a surplus. According to data from Oman’s National Center for Statistics for the first eight months of 2012 the budget has recorded an actual surplus of OR2.1bn ($5.5bn), compared to a surplus of OR440mn ($1,144mn) in the corresponding period of 2011. (CONTINUED - 269 WORDS)