Oman budget lays stress on education.
"With new projects, including four new airports and expansion of two international airports, we would need expatriate labour, but our endeavour would be to train more Omani workforce for future," said Ahmad Bin Abdul Nabi Makki, Minister of National Economy and Supervisor of Ministry of Finance, while unveiling the budget.
The government has prepared the budget with an assumption of oil prices at $50 a barrel, slightly higher than $45 calculated in the 2009 budget. The revenue is estimated at 6.38 billion riyals compared to 5.614 billion in the 2009 calculations, an increase of 14 per cent. Oil and gas constitute 76 per cent of the revenues.
"We expect general spending to be 7.18 billion riyals," Makki said.
The estimated spending in this year's budget is almost 12 per cent higher than in 2009, when the spending was estimated at 6.424 billion riyals, an increase of 756 million riyals.
"The current appropriations for the educational sector amount to 874 million riyals, or 35 per cent of the current expenditures of the civil ministries," he added.
Makki has allocated 623,619 riyals for the education sector compared to 563,667 last year and 74,529 riyals is being set aside for the manpower ministry against 66,372 allocated in 2009 budget.
Overall, Makki has kept aside 330 million riyals more for government expenditure in 2010, which is at 2.5 billion riyals, an increase of 15 per cent. He also pointed out that more than 30 million riyals was allotted to cover operational expenses of the new projects during 2010.
"These projects are expected to generate 4,000 jobs for Omani nationals," he said.
Talking about the projected deficit, Makki said the estimated 800 riyal deficit for the year 2010 will be 13 per cent of revenues and three per cent of gross domestic product (GDP).
"It is within the limits of the estimated deficit in the budget of the previous year," he said.
"Despite the fact that the general deficit is considered relatively high, in its absolute value its percentage of the GDP is considered among the economically safe and acceptable rates," he said.
He also said they expect inflation to be about 3.5 per cent in 2010 and GDP growth will be 6.2 per cent.
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aT A GLANCE
oSpending to increase by 12 per cent to 7.18 billion riyals
oValue Added Tax to be introduced with the other GCC states
o Deficit 800 million riyals.
o Revenue estimated to be 6.38 billion riyals with oil price for 2010 estimated to be $50 per barrle.
o Inflation is expected to be 3.5 per cent in 2010.
o GDP is estimated at 6.2 per cent.
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