Every cloud has a silver lining

Opinion Tuesday 12/January/2016 14:58 PM
By: Times News Service
Every cloud has a silver lining

While the Sultanate is working to take precautions against lower revenue from oil as a result of the decline in oil prices in the international market, by restructuring fees and taxes on services, developing mechanisms of action in government agencies, advancing the competence and quality of services, channelling funds to the necessities, reducing non-necessary costs by publishing financial publications, and imposing a limit on ministries’ expenses, the public understands that it must be prepared for such measures at all times.
Supporting the existence of such measures comes at a critical time, which is caused by a major decrease in oil revenue that has affected the state revenue. We have also seen that the national budget has projected a shortage of OMR3.3 billion this year. Preliminary calculations over 2015 have shown an increase of the shortage to OMR4.5 billion.
All these measures are targeted measures that the government has adopted to guarantee financial resources for development expenses, to preserve the public finance and its standing in an international perspective. That’s why we have to cooperate with these steps.
We should look at this crisis positively, not just negatively. We could celebrate the restructuring of our spending, a reduction of the dependency on oil and roll up our sleeves to build our national economy together with the government to overcome the effects of such crises.
Without doubt, financial administration is one of the most difficult issues around, be it on the level of households, companies, organisations or states. We have to take into account this fact while we are working with the government to achieve success by taking a number of steps, which we have to support in the first place, when it comes to our consuming behaviour and the resulting non-necessary expenses, be it within organisations or as individuals.
We have to get used to the changes locally and internationally; changes which we regard as positive and which will enable us to turn crisis and challenges into chances to defeat them, instead of complaining, as a result of the troubles we caused.
People are ready to carry on onto this difficult path during complicated times. We have to cooperate with carrying out these targeted financial measures, in order to achieve a balance in the state budget, and not expose it to a shock or rely on national or international loans.
We have to support each other. It demands from all of us to come with new ways to help the state solve the crisis and generate more income from non-oil sources. We should continue the policy of diversifying the sources of income and take advantage of natural resources other than oil. This is what the national duty asks of us, in the present and in the future.
During the last 45 years since the Renaissance, the state has not been greedy towards its fellow citizens; everything that has been realised from scratch on this blessed land reminds us of this, as everyone is aware of it. Today, when we are faced with crises, we have to support the government to overcome the problems during the tough years experienced by nations and countries. We have to rethink of our bills and priorities so that we do remain in this situation and we should not accuse each other or see each other as competitors or judges. We have to trust the work of specialised organisations that supervise us and are one of the pillars of the state that stands strong.
The measures that have been taken until now are not difficult and will not have a negative effect on citizens’ lives, to whom the government since its undertaking of the blessed Renaissance has attached great importance. However, the government has taken steps to scrap unnecessary and unimportant expenses, giving a warning sign to the individual and to the society, to think about their expenses and lower unnecessary costs and rethink their purchases.
The financial structure of these measures and the control of spending will definitely spread to other important and necessary fields, such as education, healthcare, social protection, electricity, water, security, defence.
We have to make sure that we continuously support these essential sectors, together with the government. These are basic issues serving our precious lives; services which the government provides for in full, for every individual living in this pleasant land. We have to protect these services together by providing all the support we can gather, by supporting new tools that serve these basic sectors.
I hope that these, and other measures, will be steps to influence our consumer behaviour on an individual level and on the level of the individual, the society and government agencies. I hope that we will preserve what has been realised for the sake of every citizen and resident of this pleasant land in the era of the blessed Renaissance led by His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said – May God protect him.