Budget surplus helps reduce public debt in Oman

Rising oil prices and fiscal governance reforms are helping to boost the economic situation.

Muscat: The Sultanate has managed to repay part of the public debt thanks to the financial surplus it has achieved thanks to the increase in oil prices and fiscal and governance reforms, contributing enormously to the improvement of the economic situation. general.

The Sultanate, lately, has been making every effort to bring the public debt within safe limits.

Aseel bint Mohammed Redha Al Lawati, Director of the Public Debt Management Unit at the Ministry of Finance, told an Al Shababa program, ‘Ma’a Al Shababa’ that the Public Debt Management Unit was established in 2016 and since then the unit has consistently strived to effectively manage the Sultanate’s public debt portfolio and associated risks, including timely access to appropriate portfolio funding, review existing loans, the refinancing of low-cost loans and the diversification of local and international sources of financing.

This helped curb the growth of public debt, attributable to deficit financing since 2015 and later due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Public debt exceeded OMR 20 billion, she added. External public debt represents 75% of the public debt portfolio.

Since the beginning of the current year, we have achieved a financial surplus due to the increase in oil prices for the first time since 2014, she said, adding that we used part of the surplus for early repayment of loans/borrowings. At the end of August 2022, the public debt decreased to approximately OMR 18.4 billion, thus allowing the economy to avoid any future crisis, to mitigate risks and to generate future savings.

Regarding the repayment of public debt, she said that about OMR 2.4 billion of public debt has been paid, exceeding our expectations. In the current year, OMR4 billion will be paid. In March, we refinanced a loan scheduled for repayment in 2023. This is in addition to the early repayment of some loans, such as the Chinese loan which amounted to $ 3.6 billion, not including the bond buyback sovereign states in the local market. .

For example, debts due between 2023 and 2025 exceeded OMR 6 billion, the amount of which is expected to be reduced to less than OMR 5 billion.

According to the latest reports from credit rating agencies, one of the reasons for the Sultanate’s improved credit rating is less external debt pressure, she said, adding that the Next year, in January, the maximum external financing would be around US$1.25 billion. .

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