Oman govt to help cover deficit with overseas borrowing

January 02, 2014 - 12:04:52 pm

MUSCAT: Oman's government expects to cover a projected budget deficit in 2014 partly by borrowing overseas, Financial Affairs Minister Darwish al-Balushi said on Thursday.

The government earlier released a 2014 budget plan that envisages spending of 13.5 billion rials and revenues of 11.7 billion rials assuming an average crude oil price of $85 a barrel.

That would produce a deficit of 1.8 billion rials.

Balushi told a news conference that the government planned to borrow 400 million rials this year.

Including 200 million rials overseas from commercial banks and "strategic partners" such as insurance companies.

Officials had said earlier that Oman might issue its first international bond this year since 1997, but Balushi did not mention this as a possibility.

However, he said the government expected to conduct part of its domestic borrowing in 2014 in the form of its first issue of sukuk or Islamic bonds.

Oman has lagged other Gulf countries in introducing Islamic finance and is now working to develop the industry. (Reuters)

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