Speaking on 1 January at a media briefing to mark the release of Oman’s budget for 2024, Minister of Finance Sultan Salim Al Habsi gave the first preliminary figures for the sultanate’s 2023 fiscal performance. Despite another volatile year for oil markets, average prices remained robust and generated strong revenues for state coffers.

With the Ministry having originally budgeted for revenue of $26bn, Mr Habsi said initial figures put the figure much higher at around $32bn. Since spending was exactly as predicted, this revenue boom turned an expected $3.4bn deficit into a $2.4bn surplus. This marks Oman’s second consecutive budget surplus, a sharp turnaround from the previous streak of 13 annual deficits between 2009 and 2021, but was only achieved by moving responsibility for large swathes of spending away from the government to state-owned entities (MEES, 23 December 2022). (CONTINUED - 1341 WORDS)