Oman cuts benefits for state agency employees

 01 May 2016 - 14:34

Oman cuts benefits for state agency employees


DUBAI: Oman is cutting benefits for employees of state agencies as part of an austerity drive designed to curb a big budget deficit caused by low oil prices, the Times of Oman reported on Sunday.

The cuts were communicated in a circular to the agencies from Financial Affairs Minister Darwish al-Balushi, the newspaper quoted Khalid al-Busaidi, a public relations officer at the ministry, as saying. Busaidi and other officials could not be reached for comment.

Employees of the agencies will lose benefits including health insurance, life insurance, travel insurance and car insurance, as well as bonuses, loans and allowances for school fees, housing and mobile phones, the newspaper reported.

"This decision does not affect ministries as such privileges do not exist in the ministries," Busaidi was quoted as saying. 

The newspaper did not give a figure for the amount of money which the government expects to save.

The decision covers well over a dozen agencies including authorities for the electricity and telecommunications industries, the Public Authority for Civil Aviation and the Capital Market Authority, the Oman Times said.

Oman is imposing a string of austerity measures after it posted a budget deficit of about 4.5 billion rials ($11.7 billion) last year. Gasoline and diesel price subsidies have been cut, and reductions for electricity and liquid petroleum gas are on the drawing board.