Oman to set up investment authority to manage state assets

The investment authority decree, issued by Sultan Haitham bin Tariq Al-Said, will allow the new authority to own all public assets except the Petroleum Development Oman company. (Reuters/File Photo)
Short Url
Updated 04 June 2020

Oman to set up investment authority to manage state assets

  • Oman is being hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic and low oil prices
  • Oman Investment Authority board members will be appointed by Sultan Haitham

DUBAI: Oman is setting up the Oman Investment Authority to own and manage most of the country’s sovereign wealth fund and finance ministry assets, state TV reported on Thursday, citing a decree from the sultanate’s ruler.
The decree, issued by Sultan Haitham bin Tariq Al-Said, will allow the new authority to own all public assets except the Petroleum Development Oman company and government stakes in international institutions.
The investment authority will also replace sovereign wealth funds in the country’s official documents, the decree said.
Oman’s largest sovereign fund, the State General Reserve Fund, has assets of around $14 billion dollars while its second-largest fund, Oman Investment Fund, has around $3.4 billion, data from research group the Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute showed.
Oman, a small oil producer relative to its Gulf neighbors, is being hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic and low oil prices.
Brent crude futures were trading at around $39 a barrel on Thursday, and Oman would need oil at $86.8 a barrel to balance its budget this year, the International Monetary Fund has estimated.
Oman is emerging as “an increasingly vulnerable spot in the region in light of its mounting debt,” the Institute of International Finance said, adding that Oman could experience a 5.3% economic contraction this year while its deficit could widen to 16.1% from 9.4% in 2019.
Oman Investment Authority board members will be appointed by Sultan Haitham, the decree said, adding that all employees of the sultanate’s two sovereign funds would transfer to the new entity.


Iran reports record 1-day virus death toll of 200

Updated 23 min 31 sec ago

Iran reports record 1-day virus death toll of 200

  • The previous record was Sunday’s toll of 163 deaths

TEHRAN, CAIRO: Iran announced on Tuesday 200 more deaths from the coronavirus, the most in a single day since the Middle East’s deadliest outbreak began in February.

The previous record was Sunday’s toll of 163 deaths.

“Unfortunately in the past 24 hours we have lost 200 of our compatriots, bringing the total number of victims to 11,931,” Health Ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari said on state television.

“The increase in the number of deaths is very painful for all of us,” she said, adding that it was “the result of all of our behavior and actions.”

Another 2,637 people have tested positive for the virus, taking the total official number of cases to 245,688, Lari said.

She said that infections had risen sharply in one area, which she did not name, after a string of weddings there in recent days.

Officially recorded deaths and infections from the virus have been steadily rising since Iran reported a near-two month low in daily recorded cases in early May.

Meanwhile, Egypt reported 969 new coronavirus cases on Monday, the Health Ministry said, the first drop below 1,000 registered daily since May 27.

In total 76,222 COVID-19 cases have been reported and 3,422 deaths, including 79 on Monday, the ministry said in a statement.

Egypt reopened resorts to foreign tourists last week after tourism came to halt in March under measures to curb the coronavirus outbreak. But Egypt was not on an initial “safe list” of 14 countries for resumption of nonessential travel to the EU, announced last week.

Tourism accounts for 5 percent of Egypt’s economic output, according to the government. But analysts put the figure as much as 15 percent if jobs indirectly related to the sector are included.

Separately, South Africa’s confirmed coronavirus cases have surpassed 200,000 as the country continues to post some of the highest daily numbers in the world.