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Oman to subsidise food staples to offset inflation

Oman's government has approved plans to subsidise food staples to offset inflation, a government official at the Gulf sultanate's trade ministry said on Tuesday.

December 14, 2011 10:59 by



“Essential foods like wheat, rice, sugar, flour, locally produced meat and poultry products will be subsidized to offset inflation,” a trade ministry official said, adding the plan has been already enforced this week.

The government will spend 42 million rials ($109 million) to build warehouses across the country to store food to help offset rising prices.

Annual inflation edged up marginally to 3.8 percent in October, data showed on Monday. Analysts polled by Reuters in September forecast average inflation in Oman of 3.9 percent in 2011 and 2012, after 3.3 percent in 2010.

The central bank’s executive president said in November he was not worried about inflation at the moment, but that the central bank would watch it very closely. He forecast in October inflation would reach 4 percent in 2011, while the economy was likely to grow 5 percent.

Oman, a usually tranquil Gulf Arab sultanate, was touched by street protests earlier this year calling mainly for higher wages, fairer access to government jobs and an end to graft.

Sultan Qaboos bin Said, a US ally who has ruled the small, non-OPEC oil-producing state for 40 years, responded by promising a $2.6 billion spending package and creation of 50,000 public sector jobs. (Reporting by Saleh Al-Shaibany; Additional reporting by Nour Merza in Dubai)



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