|10-26-2014, 05:59 PM||#1|
Oman: lower oil prices will prompt a cut in government subsidies
Oman’s Minister for Financial Affairs said the government will probably start reducing state subsidies from next year as its finances are starting to get pressured by the fall in oil prices.
Oman’s original budget plan for 2014 originally showed the government would run a deficit with an average oil price of $85 per barrel. However, oil prices fell in the last few months as low as $82 a barrel, which placed heavy pressure on the government’s finances.
Minister Darwish al-Balushi said the government has been thinking of plans to restructure its costly and even wasteful subsidy system, but at a politically sensitive scale.
Also, Balushi said the current subsidy system was fruitless and did not focus on poorer people.
"Everybody gets, people who deserve and people who do not. I think if we rationalize it and use the saving for better priorities that will definitely have a return for the people of Oman,” Balushi said.
For the short term, global oil prices are seen at the low levels they are at now. Most members of the Organization for the Petroleum Exporting Countries are opting not to reduce supply and are even pushing for lower prices.
Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Oman recently cut their prices to Asian oil buyers.
Market share is the deal now for most oil-exporters in the region, as they try to fight the rising shale boom from North America, despite the pressures lower prices are putting on the governments’ budgets, as it seems Gulf oil exporters are well aware of the risks.
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