Sharjah Ruler approves emirate's 'largest budget' with $11.1bn expenditure

Nearly 26% of the 2024 budget has been allocated for wages

SHARJAH, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES. 30 September 2017. STANDALONE. The Sharjah skyline lights reflect in the Al Khan Lagoon while moored vessels wait out the humid night. (Photo: Antonie Robertson/The National) Journalist: None. Section: Standalone.
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Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Ruler of Sharjah, has approved the emirate's Dh40.83 billion ($11.12 billion) budget for 2024, the largest in its history, state news agency Wam reported on Tuesday.

Total expenditure, up by more than 16 per cent on a yearly basis, is aimed at achieving financial sustainability and ensuring social security and sustainability in the emirate.

The new budget will support government departments to achieve their goals, enable the implementation of various infrastructure and science projects, boost business and tourism, and achieve food security, said Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of Sharjah, and chairman of the Sharjah Executive Council.

Increased spending will support capital projects by 20 per cent. Nearly 26 per cent of the budget has been allocated for wages while 12 per cent has been put towards support and aid purposes, Wam reported.

Operating expenses reached 25 per cent for 2024, an increase of 6 per cent compared to last year.

Loan repayments and interest account for 15 per cent of the total budget this year.

In terms of sectors, infrastructure accounts for the biggest share at 40 per cent, an increase of 26 per cent from the previous year's allocation.

The economic development sector is next with about 30 per cent, followed by social development, with an allotment of 21 per cent.

The allocation for government administration, security and safety constitutes about 9 per cent of the budget, marking a 41 per cent rise from the previous budget.

Meanwhile, the budget expects revenue to rise 5 per cent annually this year. Operating revenue is expected to account for 71 per cent of the total revenue budget, signifying an 8 per cent rise compared to 2023.

Capital revenue is expected to reach 11 per cent, tax revenue to hit 9 per cent, customs revenue to reach 4 per cent, while oil and gas revenue is projected to constitute 5 per cent of the total.

The 2024 budget aims to achieve the “highest levels of financial sustainability, efficiently manage government financial resources, enhance the emirate's competitiveness in various economic, social and infrastructure fields, and support the government bodies' financial resources, to provide government services according to global standards”, Sheikh Mohammed bin Saud Al Qasimi, head of Sharjah Finance Department, said.

It will strengthen strategic partnerships with the private sector and provide incentive packages, he said.

The budget is also focused on providing developmental and social funding to ensure economic growth rates will contribute to enhancing Sharjah's position as a regional and global economic hub, attracting local and international investors, he added.

Sharjah has been experiencing strong growth after the government took several measures to support businesses and residents to mitigate the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The emirate's gross domestic product grew by 5.2 per cent in 2022, driven by economic diversification efforts that are aligned with the emirate's development strategy.

It registered Dh136.9 billion in GDP earnings in 2022, with Dh130.1 billion in 2021, Sharjah's Department of Statistics and Community Development said in May.

Updated: January 02, 2024, 6:08 PM