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Oman to boost ’11 govt spending by 20 pct-official

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June 5, 2011 3:58 by

Oman expects 2011 spending to be about 20 percent higher than previously planned due to extra spending on social programmes but plans to reach a balanced budget, a finance ministry official told Reuters on Sunday.

“The high oil prices and the fact that we are going to produce at least ten percent more than predicted will take care of the deficit even though we are spending to satisfy protesters’ demands,” the finance ministry official, who declined not to be named, said.

The 2011 budget was earlier set with a deficit of 850 million rials ($2.2 billion), or 3.8 percent of gross domestic product, based on an oil price of $58 per barrel, after the government posted a deficit of 48.4 million rials last year.

The small, non-OPEC oil exporter has been hit by rallies over the past few months with protesters demanding jobs, higher salaries and an end to graft, as unrest has spread through the Arab world. ($1=.3850 Omani Rial) (Reporting by Saleh al-Shaibany; Writing by Martina Fuchs; Editing by Jon Herskovitz)

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