Economists have reason to rejoice that the Sultanate has easily achieved the revenue targets for the first half of the year. An impressive 40.5 per cent rise in the Sultanate’s non-oil revenue in the first half year on year shows that the government has got its priorities right in the drive to diversify the economy. The non-oil and non-tax revenues grew to a robust 748.2 million rials during the first six months of 2017 when compared to 532.7 million rials during the same period last year. The revenue grew overall to a little over 4 billion rials, against the annual target of 8.7 billion rials. The oil revenues also made a remarkable jump to 2.8 billion rials during the first six months from 2.1 billion rials in the corresponding period of last year. This more than offset a slight decline in the tax revenue to 394.8 million rials in the first half of this year from 473 million rials during the same period of last year. Reports on the national economy show a pretty picture with the steps that the wise leadership has taken showing results. The steps included fiscal tightening and economic diversification through the Tanfeedh programme, which was evolved through a meticulous process to identify the key areas that should receive extra focus. The growth philosophy that the nation’s wise leaders have pursued from the very beginning has been founded on inclusiveness. They have gone for high economic growth without sacrificing the human element. That is why the nation has prospered and is blessed by one of the happiest people in the world.
The success of the nation can be attributed to careful planning in utilising the resources in areas most needed. From the very beginning, infrastructure and industrialisation were treated as two vital growth areas that required maximum attention. The roads, ports and airports that the nation has built are of international standards. They have helped spur industrial growth across the Sultanate and decentralise the economy. There were indications of the steady pace at which the nation’s economic diversification was progressing in the annual report of the Central Bank of Oman that came out earlier this year. It said the robust expansion that the economy achieved from 2010 to 2014 easily offset the effects of global uncertainties over weakness in the hydrocarbon economy. There is no doubt that the government’s efforts to tackle the challenges through a multi-pronged strategy have found favour with macroeconomic experts around the globe. The report prefaced by CBO Executive President HE Hamoud Sangour Al Zadjali points to expectations of oil recovery considering the pumping cap in place that is expected to continue. New regulations on labour and foreign direct investment have been pushing growth. The CBO rightly assessed that the government’s flagship economic diversification programme will pave the way for sustainable long-term growth. Tanfeedh focuses on channeling the resources to achieve more than average growth in manufacturing, logistics and tourism sectors. The programme leverages the unique advantages the Sultanate enjoys to achieving growth. The implementation authorities reported that 13 per cent of Tanfeedh projects were implemented by May, easily exceeding the 9 per cent target.