The rate of growth of the Omani economy is projected to continue rising, fuelled by increased public spending and robust oil prices, according to a recent report published by the National Commercial Bank of Saudi Arabia. Non-oil sectors are expected to play an important role in driving future growth, aided by investments grossing $78 billion in infrastructure spending, the largest bank in Saudi Arabia stated in its report.
According to the study, the Omani economy slowed down by 1.1 per cent in 2009, although real GDP growth turned around in 2010 to post a 4 per cent rise, expanding a further 5.5 per cent in 2011. Growth is expected to reach 3.9 per cent this year, rising to 4.3 per cent in 2013. The next few years will be characterised by healthy growth for Oman, with about $78 billion in infrastructure spending included in the country's five-year development plan. Spending in the construction sector is forecast to more than double in the next few years.
Oman is pushing to expand the private sector, and has set up a development fund for small and medium enterprises with RO 100 million in initial capital. Private pension funds, local business groups and other financial organisations have provided the capital required. The Sultanate is also increasing development in the hydrocarbons sector. A partnership between the Oman Oil Company and IPIC, out of Abu Dhabi, was finalized in June and plans to construct a Duqm refinery with production levels of 230,000 barrels per day are under way. This refinery project is budgeted at $6 billion and should take more than five years to build.
Oil GDP grew by about 3.8 per cent last year and is expected to experience 1 per cent growth in 2012. The non-hydrocarbon sector expanded by 6.4 per cent in 2011, with almost 4.3 per cent growth forecast for 2012. Meanwhile, Gulf economies seem firmly on track for historically high surpluses, it stated in another report on the GCC oil industry. Citing studies conducted by the Institute of International Finance, it said that GCC countries are expected to reap record oil revenues of $572 billion this year, compared with last year's $538 billion.
Oman Daily Observer