Oman To Top GCC GDP Rankings

The sultanate has the potential to top the GDP rankings for the region, bettering its wealthy neighbours.

Oman’s GDP growth is forecast to be higher than that of many developed and emerging economies, including many in the Gulf.

The news comes from BankMuscat’s chief executive, AbdulRazak Ali Issa, who is optimistic about Oman’s future economic prospects.

“The outlook for Oman’s economy for the next five years is positive as the government has announced an expenditure of $111 billion during the Eighth Five-Year Plan between 2011 and 2015,” said Issa.

“The total projected revenue for the five year period is estimated at $98 billion, leaving a deficit of $13.6 billion,”

The plan also emphasises the development of human capital, with a pledge to create new employment opportunities in the region of 200,000-275,000 or an annual average of around 40,000-55,000 new jobs.

Oman recently raised its budget by 23 per cent to $26 billion this year compared to its original projection for 2011. The 2012 plan includes almost 96 per cent of last year’s actual expenditure, which was boosted by extra spending.

It is understood Islamic finance will contribute to some of the future growth. InFebruary, the Islamic Development Bank said it had approved $594 million inIslamically-financed undertakings in Oman, ranging from road building projects and health projects through to building technical colleges.

The news comes as Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) takes steps to reach a solution to the industrial dispute that begun last week.

“Operations at Qarn Alam have started to resume and further talks are taking place at Fahud,” the company said, according to The Wall Street Journal. The strike had resulted in a small reduction in oil production.

“The unfortunate fact of the matter is that those who have mounted this illegal strike have been blocking the delivery of water and diesel andpreventing others from going about their daily business,” said PDO managing director Raoul Restucci.

PDO is 60% state-owned and is responsible for more than 70% of Oman’s crude oil production and nearly all of its natural gas supply.