Oman to create 20,000 govt jobs this year-minister

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.

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