IMF urges Oman to introduce VAT as soon as possible

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The International Monetary Fund has urged Oman to introduce VAT as soon as possible as the sultanate’s economic recovery from the 2014 oil price shock remains subdued.

The UAE and Saudi Arabia were the first countries in the GCC to introduce a 5 percent VAT on January 1 2018 while Bahrain made the move a year later but Oman, Kuwait and Qatar have not yet implemented the tax.

While welcoming the Oman’s plans to continue with fiscal consolidation, IMF directors called for an expeditious introduction of VAT and measures to adjust government spending.
They also encouraged Omani authorities to implement an ambitious medium-term fiscal adjustment plan, based on reforms to tackle current spending rigidities, streamline public investment, and raise non-hydrocarbon revenue.

The recommendations were made by the executive board of the IMF following the conclusion of a Article IV consultation with Oman.

The IMF said since the 2014 oil price shock, Oman’s policy efforts have aimed at strengthening the fiscal position, enhancing private sector-led growth and employment, and encouraging diversification.

It added that economic activity started to recover last year, and the overall fiscal and current account deficits improved somewhat, reflecting mainly higher oil prices.