Oman ruler aims to reduce country's debt
February 23 2020 11:50 PM
Sultan Haitham bin Tariq al-Said
Sultan Haitham bin Tariq al-Said

Reuters/Muscat

Oman's Sultan Haitham bin Tariq al-Said said Sunday the government would work to reduce public debt and restructure public institutions and companies to bolster the economy.
Haitham, in his second public speech since assuming power in January, said the government would create a national framework to tackle unemployment while addressing strained public finances.
"We will direct our financial resources in the best way that will guarantee reducing debt and increasing revenues," he said in the televised speech.
"We will also direct all government departments to adopt efficient governance that leads to a balanced, diversified and sustainable economy."
The Gulf country has relied heavily on debt to offset a widening deficit caused by lower crude prices. The country has delayed introducing a 5% value added tax from 2019 to 2021,with oil and gas accounting for over 70% of government revenues.
"We are willing to take the necessary measures to restructure the state's administrative system and its legislation," Sultan Haitham said in his first speech since the mourning period for Qaboos ended, without elaborating.
He said there would be a full review of government companies to improve their business performance and competence.
Like Qaboos, he holds the positions of finance minister and central bank chairman as well as premier, defence and foreign minister.



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