By Andy Sambidge
Top gov't official says emirate has the means to deal with the impact of the global crisis.
A top Dubai government official has said the emirate remains in total control of its economic destiny despite the global financial crisis.
Nasser al-Shaikh, director-general of the Dubai Department of Finance, said Dubai was set to announce a record budget in the next few weeks.
"No doubt the new environment is challenging. But we are in absolute control of our destiny," he said in comments published by UAE daily Gulf News on Friday.
"We have the means to deal with the outcome of the global credit crisis," he said.
The finance chief added: "No Dubai asset has been sold. None of Dubai's assets are being negotiated to be sold to anyone."
Al Shaikh said Dubai's sovereign debt was $10 billion while the debt of companies affiliated to the Dubai government was about $70 billion.
Regarding Dubai's repayment of external debt, he told the paper: "We are confident that we will meet our obligations when it comes to government and private company debts. It will be a mixture of paying off and rolling over existing debts."
Dubai announced a record 2008 budget of 135 billion dirhams and al-Shaikh added: "I cannot disclose the size of next year's budget, but it will certainly witness an increase over the budget of 2008.
"There will be an increase in spending on infrastructure projects, including completion of the Metro project, expansion of the airport and construction of a new airport."
The last paragraph in this article is key and this is really what Dubai government should focus on, Infrastructure projects. For many observers, Dubai government had the infrastructure 2nd on their priority list while the real estate was the 1st priority. The infrastructure in the city suffered for so long and work in progress projects added to the city issues... under current economic climate the best thing to do is to work out your infrastructure and then use it in such away to help create a sustainable economy and offer attractive business environment at competitive costs.
As leading member of GCC club, Dubai is certainly setting a standard to benchmakr for others esp in developlment of the transport infrastucture and logistics systems.
Dubai Government must react faster to the current market state mainly the banking sector which has an impact on all industries in the Dubai specially the real estate sector. The infrastructure is also a key to ensure that Dubai will continue to be the leader in providing the proper business and lifestyle environments for both business and new comers. People here in Dubai do believe in Dubai's ability to remedy the situation, however the way I see it, it will take time to change the consumer sentiment which has been negatively impacted by the fall of the stock market, real estate slow down, and the lack of banking facilities.
I really wonder now! When would we bring down the curtain on disclosure and transparency and substitute it with on the spot facts about our current economic situation? you know and I know that companies now have sacked thousands of employees, off-plan development and projects are on the shelf for the foreseeable future, consumer spending is down, car dealers are suffering, banks are not extending loans and tightening credit policies, real estate market is in distressed situation, you have, according to published reports, $80 billions in national debt (the $70 billion are related to government owned companies), the stock market is down exactly 73.25% since January 1, 2008, and after all that you declare that we are in control of our economic situation. Wass Up!
I know it is a side line to the thread but, It puzzles me why here - UAE Oman and Qatar - the necessary basic essentials to a project scheme are the LAST things to go in e.g. Access roads Electricity , water , Sewerage systems etc.