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Minister Predicts 3 Percent Growth in Oman Over Next Few Years

Oman : 23 November 2010

The development plan that begins next year and stretches over five years will see a target of 3 per cent growth for Oman, according to the Minister of National Economy.

The Minister, Ahmed bin Abdul Nabi Mecki, stated that Oman’s real GDP was higher than the expected rate recorded in the 2006 to 2010 development plan, surpassing 3 per cent even when taking into account the negative effects of the 2008 worldwide economic crisis.

As reported in the media, the minister noted that real GDP grew by 5.5 per cent in 2006, approximately 6.8 per cent for 2007, up to 12.8 per cent in 2008 and almost 7.3 per cent in 2009.  The 2010 growth rate is expected to reach 6.1 per cent.

The growth rate for 2009 that Minister Mecki quoted was quite different than those reported by the IMF, which fell in at 3.6 per cent.  The projected 2010 growth is also higher than the IMF expectation of 4.7 per cent.

Recently the Minister stated that the next five year development plan is set to reach a minimum GDP growth of 3 per cent, as well as recording a boost in exports, more investments flowing in and an expansion in productivity across the state.

Mecki noted that creation of Jobs for Omanis is also a top priority, as are agricultural developments and other economic sectors outside of oil and gas.  Encouraging private industries to be investing in small to medium sized firms is also part of the plan.

Increased oil and gas revenues gave Oman the ability to pay off more debt and boost their reserves for the five year period ending this year.  Higher foreign investments were also recorded from 2006 to 2010 and numerous development projects were brought to completion, according to the minister.

Oman produced more oil as well, recording a new high in November of 2010, reaching 875,000 bpd (barrels per day).  The price of crude also climbed over 30 per cent over the course of this past year, up from $12.53 billion in 2009 to $14.9 billion in 2010.

With the current pricing, the 33.9 per cent hike in GDP for Oman over the first six months of this year was thanks to increased production and higher prices.

With more production and rising prices the Sultanate was on track with plans for fiscal expansion that were put in place when the worldwide economic crisis hit.  Over that same time period the earnings on oil exports climbed from $7.97 billion to $10.19 billion.

Data released by the National Economy Ministry stated that the per capita GNP reached a new high back in 2008, hitting $20,232.  Also the ministry figures showed that job creation plans put in place from 1996 on were successful, with 275,000 opportunities for Oman nationals in 2008 compared to below 100,000 back in 1996.

The eighth development plan set to begin next year has even more projects within its scope, Mecki noted, that will affect many sectors including tourism, industrial and infrastructure within the Gulf state.

Paul Holdsworth, Staff Writer, Gulf Jobs Market News
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