Changes to accounting system mean Gulf state postpones budget until end of May
The deadline for releasing Qatar's state budget for the coming fiscal year will be pushed back to the end of May because of changes to the government's accounting system and the way it prepares budgets, Qatar's state news agency said on Thursday, citing a decision by the cabinet.
Normally, the budget is announced by April 1 each year. During the postponement period, the government will operate under the terms of the current fiscal year's budget.
In future, budget estimates will be given for three-year periods and then ratified each year during the period, the statement said.
Qatar's budget spending for the 2012/13 fiscal year, which starts on April 1, will be much higher than in the current year, an economic adviser to the country's emir said last month.
In its 2011/12 budget, the world's top liquefied natural gas exporter originally planned spending worth QAR139.9bn (US$38.4bn) and a surplus of QAR22.5bn, or 4.9 percent of gross domestic product.
Partly in response to political unrest elsewhere in the Middle East, Qatar hiked basic salaries and social benefits for the state's civilian employees by 60 percent last September, while military staff received 50-120 percent rises. The International Monetary Fund estimated such extra social spending would add US$1.6bn to expenditure in 2011/12.