Dubai to raise gov't spending to $9.28bn in 2013

Sheikh Mohammed approves budget that forecasts near-8% increase in public revenues

Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

Dubai on Monday announced its budget for 2013 with spending set to rise by nearly AED2bn to AED34.1bn ($9.28bn).

Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum approved next year's budget which also forecast a near-eight percent increase in public revenues of AED32.62bn with a deficit of AED1.5bn.

It also said that six percent of public spending has been allocated to debt servicing in 2013 while the budget deficit had been reduced to less than 0.5 percent of GDP.

The budget outlines the creation of 1,600 job opportunities for Emiratis in 2013 while 26 percent of the spending is earmarked for health, education, housing and social development.

A total of 16 percent of government spending will be allocated for the completion of infrastructure projects in the emirate as the government remains committed to stimulating domestic and foreign investments.

Although this reflects a 4.8 percent decrease from 2012, the government said this was due to the completion of several large projects. Going forward, the emirate intends to launch new projects to support Expo 2020, it added.

The government has also indicated that it is committed to not using oil revenues to fund infrastructure projects.

A statement said the 2013 budget directly applies directives by Sheikh Mohammed "to focus on a prudent fiscal policy that provides the stimuli necessary to economic growth in the emirate, raise the efficiency of government agencies to provide the best services, health and social care for the citizens and residents".

Abdul Rahman Saleh Al Saleh, director general of the Department of Finance, said there was a "possibility of balancing the 2013 budget" but added that it was the government's preference to "expand its expenditures in a bid to support the emirate's economy by increasing public spending for the fiscal year 2013 by six percent over the 2012 budget".

Government fees expected in 2013, representing 62 percent of total government revenues, have increased by 9.8 percent compared to 2012.

"The rise in fees revenue is due to real economic growth and reflects the expected growth rates in the emirate. It also reflects the development and diversity of government services which allows the implemented policy of not raising any government fees in the emirate, as adopted post the global economic crisis," the statement said.

Tax revenues show an increase of 15 percent in 2013 over 2012, it added.

Net oil revenues will witness an increase of 11.8 percent in the fiscal year 2013 owing to higher oil prices, according to the budget.

Allocations to budget from government investment returns were reduced to allow for increased reinvestment in the emirate's economic growth, the statement said.

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