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Tue 3 Jan 2017 01:48 PM

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Sharjah sets largest ever budget of nearly $6bn for 2017

Senior official says about 30% of total spending will be allocated to infrastructure this year

Sharjah sets largest ever budget of nearly $6bn for 2017

Sharjah has set its 2017 budget at AED22 billion ($5.99 billion), the largest in the emirate's history as it focuses spending on infrastructure.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Saud Al Qasimi, chairman of the Central Department of Finance in Sharjah, said about 30 percent of total government expenditures have been allocated to infrastructure next year.

Last year, Sharjah approved its government budget for 2016 which included a two percent rise in spending to AED20.3 billion.

"The increase in infrastructure spending amounts to 7 percent more than in 2016," Al Qasimi said in comments published by news agency WAM.

He added that although the budget will fund economic, social, scientific and cultural sectors, the highest priority remains investing in the infrastructure of the emirate, along with providing social support to its citizens.

Dr Tariq bin Khadem, chairman of the Human Resources Department, estimated that the budget will enable Sharjah to provide 3,500 more jobs to Emiratis.

Waleed Al Sayegh, director-general of the Central Department of Finance in Sharjah, said 41 percent of the total budget would be spent on the economic development sector as the government aims to make the emirate more competitive.

In September, Sharjah launched a new initiative to encourage business people across the world to invest in the emirate.

Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, ruler of Sharjah, approved the launch of Invest in Sharjah, which aims to help investors "fully capitalise on the unique elements of the emirate".

The brand is also in line with the strategy of Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) to position Sharjah as a strategic investment destination.

Invest in Sharjah will reach out to local, regional and global investors to explore investment opportunities in the emirate.

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