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Tue 1 Apr 2014 02:01 PM

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Qatar to build 85 new schools over next 18 months

The move is part of the new $20bn budget announced this week by the Qatari Government

Qatar to build 85 new schools over next 18 months

Qatar is planning to build 85 new schools as part of its 2014-2015 financial plan, in a bid to cater to growing demand on the country’s educational system.

The new schools will be built over the next year and a half, Doha News reported.

The Public Works Authority (Ashghal) previously pledged to build 44 new schools and kindergartens over the next couple of years, including 29 schools and 15 kindergartens by the end of 2014, the report added.

The 85 new schools will help to ease the burden on the education system, which is struggling to match the fast growing population.

The initiative is part of the QR75.6bn ($20.76bn) Qatar has set aside for infrastructure projects over the next year in a state budget.

The 2014-15 budget, endorsed by decree on Sunday and the state’s biggest budget to date, estimates total revenue of QR225.7bn ($61.98bn) and expenditure of QR218.4bn ($60bn) with a projected surplus of QR7.3bn ($2bn).

It is based on a conservative oil price assumption of $65 a barrel that remains unchanged from the previous year, Gulf Times newspaper reported.

Minister of Finance Ali Sharif al Emadi said “the budget was drawn up with a clear aim to help translate into reality, the key pillars of Qatar National Vision 2030”.

”The budget is a translation of directions of HH the Emir, focusing on allocation of the necessary funds for both the health and education sectors,” he was quoted as saying.

“This is in addition to the allocations provided for the completion of the large infrastructure and transport projects as well as the funds necessary for launching rail and other projects connected to Qatar FIFA 2022 World Cup preparations.”

He said a six percent increase in expenditure would support QR87.5bn in key development projects. Projects valued at an estimated QR664bn are “anticipated to be implemented” during the next five years, he said, adding that this excluded oil and gas projects or private sector projects.

Budget allocations have been made for the completion of the Hamad International Airport, the New Doha Port as well as for the rail, metro and various road projects.

In housing, the budget allocated QR3.3bn to complete 3,700 housing units currently under construction for Qataris and a further 2,300 new homes benefiting 6,000 nationals.

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