Oman has posted a budget deficit of OR3.50 billion – equal to $9.1 billion – in the first half of 2016.
The figure is almost double the deficit the country announced for the same period last year, Reuters has quoted figures released by Oman’s Finance Ministry as showing.
The deficit for the first half of 2015 stood at OR1.92 billion and occurred as a result of impacts of plunging oil prices on the Persian Gulf Sultanate’s economy.
The government’s original 2016 budget plan envisaged state expenditure of OR11.9 billion and revenues at OR8.6 billion, Reuters added.
This comes as officials in Muscat have already emphasized that their 2016 economic plans assumed an average oil price of $45 a barrel.
Oman is imposing a series of austerity measures after it posted a budget deficit of about OR4.5 billion last year. Gasoline and diesel price subsidies have been cut and similar cuts are planned for electricity and liquid petroleum gas, Reuters added.
Earlier this month, the World Bank said Oman’s subsidy bill is expected to fall by 64 percent this year as the government seeks to reform its finances amid lower oil prices.
Media in early August quoted official figures as showing that Oman’s economic growth will lower in 2016 and 2017.
The National Bank of Kuwait announced in a report on the outlook for Oman that the country’s growth will slow to an average of 2 percent this year and the next year.
The report raised concerns over weakening consumer confidence in what it said was a result of the impacts of low oil prices on Oman’s economy.