Omani Economy May Continue to Post Growth During 10th Plan: Minister of Economy

Muscat (ONA): The Shura Council today hosted Dr. Said Mohammed Al Saqri, Minister of Economy who presented a statement covering the main aspects of economic outlook. The statement included an assessment about Oman’s economic diversification drive, the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on the national economy, the performance of strategic programmes of the 10th Five-Year Plan “FYP” (2021-2025), and evaluation of the 9th Five-Year Plan’s budget and the salient features of the current five year plan ( 10th plan ).

The statement also touched on the ministry’s vision on various issues, including employment, show and demand factors on short term and medium term, demographic variables on short term and medium term, economic cooperation with other parties (agreements, MoUs), measures of impact and the development of governoates (projects, programmes, partnerships and comparative and competitive advantage).

This was unveiled during the Council’s 8th ordinary session of the third annual convening 2021-2022 during the 9th Term 2019-2023. The session was headed by Khalid Hilal Al Maawali, Chairman of the Shura Council.

In his statement, Dr. Said Al Saqri said that, over the past two years, the national economy faced many challenges – as was the case with other economics around the world -and the impacts were proportionately visible across the socioeconomic tracks of Oman Vision 2040 and its first leg-the 10th Five-Year Plan 2021-2025. The  minister was referring to the dual impacts of Covid-19 and the slump in oil prices during the first quarter of 2020 due to the immense slowdowns in global economic and commercial activities.

Speaking about prospects for economic growth in the Sultanate of Oman, the minister said that the national economy is expected to maintain growth rates over the years of the 10th FYP till 2025. Investment and demand are set to rebound to their natural status (pre-2020 standings), despite challenges seen in the persisting slowdown caused by hurdles to global supply lines in the aftermath of coronavirus peaks. This is in addition to the impact of these hurdles on international business traffic, inflation rates, global growth rates and virus mutation curves.

The minister pointed out that monetary and banking indices in the Sultanate of Oman saw improvement in performance during 2021, namely a 5.3% rise in rates of local liquidity, which stood at RO 20.1 billon by the end of November 2021, while total deposits grew by 5.7% to RO 25.4 billion.

Total credit granted by banks operating in the Sultanate of Oman are by 5.4% to RO 27.8 billion by the end of November 2021, the minister affirmed.

Then, members of the Shura Council posed queries about the progress of the 10th FYP’s strategic programmes, the mechanisms of consolidating the contribution of the plan’s Grow Domestic Product (GDP) and the role of the Ministry of Economy in the realization of priorities of youth within Oman Vision 2040.

The members asked the minister if he has a plan in place to compensate segments of society impacted by procedures of the Fiscal Balance Plan.

The session also saw a debate about measures to tap energy and mining resources towards the diversification of the economic product’s baseline and the enhancement of other related sectors such as tourism, industry and fisheries. Emphasis was laid on optimum exploitation of the ideal location of the Sultanate of Oman, notably the ports, so that they could serve as attractive stations on global shipping routes.

Facts and figures on problems of jobseekers were quoted by the Council’s members for the minister to comment on them.

The session sought clarifications about the cause of a decline in SME indices, particularly the percentage of Omanization and steps undertaken by the departments concerned to address the issue and augment the contribution to the country’s economic development.

The session raised queries about the progress made in the Governorates Development Programmes in terms of domestic growth and investment.

The members demanded a bigger role for scientific research, innovation and the industrial innovation centre in the country’s development march.

They also sought clarifications about health and tourism projects, among other plans.

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