MUSCAT, Jan 2 (Reuters) - Oman will continue spending heavily on job creation for its citizens this year, Finance Minister Darwish al-Balushi said on Wednesday at a news conference on the 2013 budget.
“Last year we created 36,000 jobs for Omanis by spending 300 million rials ($780 million),” he said. “This year we will create 56,000 jobs, of which 20,000 will be in the government sector.”
He did not specify how large 2013 spending on jobs would be.
As previously reported, the budget plan envisages spending of 12.9 billion rials in 2013, up nearly 30 percent from the 2012 plan. Last year’s actual spending was about 13 billion rials, because of outlays on development projects.
Last year’s budget envisaged revenues of 8.8 billion rials and an average price for Oman’s oil of $75 per barrel. But because oil actually averaged $109 last year, revenues came in at about 14 billion rials, giving the government a surplus of about 1 billion rials, Balushi said on Wednesday.
He said that surplus would be used to cover part of any deficit this year. The 2013 budget envisages a deficit of roughly 1.7 billion rials, based on an average oil price of $85.
Balushi also said Oman’s break-even oil price, the level it would need to balance its budget, would be $104 this year.