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Oman Joins Gulf Neighbors Introducing 5% Value Added Tax




Money-stripped Oman is planning to introduce a delayed 5% value-added tax in April, following the leadership of Gulf neighbors.

The tax will exclude essential food items, medical care, education and financial services, according to a royal decree detailing it Monday. It was originally created to take effect in 2018.

Even before the outbreak of the virus, Oman was often seen among the most vulnerable economies in the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council. The double shock of lower crude prices and Covid-19 this year brought particularly severe damage to the region. The Sultanate also followed in the footsteps of neighbors this year inoffering debt to take advantage of low borrowing costs.

“We see the long-awaited VAT announcement as essential fiscal reform for Oman to unblock external funds,” said Carla Slim, a Dubai-based economist at Standard Chartered Plc. The Bank predicts that the country’s fiscal deficit will widen to 17% of gross domestic product before recovering next year.

The spread of Oman bond has narrowed as it touched 1000 basis points

The sultanate fiscal deficit during the first half of the year widened by 25% on an annual basis, according to preliminary figures from the statistics service.

Oman bonds strengthened for a ninth day on Monday, with yields on its security due to 2029 falling by 6 basis points to 6.5%. The sultanate’s debt has gained 3.6% this month, surpassing all of its Gulf Arab counterparts, as optimism about the November US election and fiscal stimulus package boosted demand for more risky assets.

BothFitch estimates andMoody’s Investors Service has reduced its sovereignty twice by 2020, saying the government is unlikely to be able to offset the loss of revenue.

read:Oman’s First Half Revenue Reduces 12.4% on Lower Oil Prices

In 2018, the UAE and Saudi Arabia, also blocked by falling oil prices by setting a VAT of 5%. Saudi Arabia tripled its tax this year.

“Implementing VAT by April 2021 could help support government revenue as we see economic growth return to 2.5% in 2021,” Slim said.

– With the help of Netty Idayu Ismail

(Chart updates, standard rental quotes.)

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