x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 22 November 2017

Oman to distribute $250m to people affected by increased fuel prices

A finance ministry official said that the aid will be distributed on a monthly basis

A couple of boys bike pass an Oman Oil petrol station in Muscat, Oman, on October 12, 2011. Silvia Razgova / The National
A couple of boys bike pass an Oman Oil petrol station in Muscat, Oman, on October 12, 2011. Silvia Razgova / The National

Oman's Sultan Qaboos bin Said has authorised the distribution of $250 million (Dh918.3m) to low-income earners to help them cope with the increased cost of petrol, reported the official Oman News Agency on Monday.

The report did not say how much each recipient would get, but a finance ministry source said that the aid would be distributed on a monthly basis.

“It will not be a one-time lump sum, but a monthly income for those in need,” he told The National.

Fuel prices have increased by more than 70 per cent this year, and the hike has mostly affected low-income families. The government last year removed fuel subsidy to pay for the budget deficit and fixed petrol prices to international prices.

Petrol was sold at a fixed price of 122 baisa per litre before the subsidy removal and is currently sold at 202 baisa per litre.

Oman classifies citizens who earn between the minimum wage of 325 rials (Dh3,100) and 400 rials as low-income earners. According to the state-run National Centre for Statistics and Information, there are 77,087 low-income Omani earners in 2017 — making up 15 per cent of Omani workers in the country.

Khamis Al Alawi, a bus driver who makes minimum wage, said that the government aid — which the government will reportedly start distributing in January 2018 — will help him and his family a great deal.

“Petrol prices have gone up a lot. I find myself short of cash to buy what is necessary for my family, such as paying water and electricity bills,” he told The National. “This new fund would help people like us a lot.”