Sharjah 2017 budget boosts spending on infrastructure

Sharjah has approved a record Dh22 billion budget for this year as the emirate increases infrastructure spending to fuel growth.

Sharjah has approved a record Dh22 billion budget for this year, as it increases infrastructure spending to fuel growth.

Spending on infrastructure will increase by 7 per cent from last year and represent 30 per cent of the budget, said Sheikh Mohammed bin Saud Al Qasimi, the chairman of the Central Department of Finance in Sharjah, the state news agency Wam reported.

Government expenditure this year will be 3 per cent higher than in 2016, while its revenue will increase by 7 per cent compared with last year. The report did not say whether Sharjah will post a deficit or a surplus.

Waleed Al Sayegh, the director general of the Central Department of Finance in Sharjah, said the budget focused on economic development, which accounted for 41 per cent of the total budget.

About 40 per cent of the budget will be earmarked for salaries and wages.

The operating revenues of various government departments will represent 74 per cent of the emirate’s total revenue this year. Capital income will account for 17.5 per cent of revenue, customs 7 per cent, the oil and gas sector 1 per cent and taxes on -total anticipated restructuring revenue will be 0.5 per cent of revenue.

The budget will also create 1,800 new government jobs for Emiratis.

Dubai, likewise, plans to increase infrastructure spending this year. The emirate last month unveiled a Dh47.3bn budget to create thousands of jobs.

The construction sector will receive a major boost from a 27 per cent jump in spending as the emirate prepares for Expo 2020.

The budget targets a 3 per cent increase in government expenditure, while revenue will be lower because of the restructuring of the budget. It anticipates a deficit of Dh2.5bn, representing 0.6 per cent of GDP.

A draft law to approve the UAE’s federal budget for this year, which estimated expenditure for the year at Dh48.7bn and revenue at Dh47.6bn, was passed by the Federal National Council last month.

Abu Dhabi has yet to release its budget for this year.

Higher spending is expected to boost growth in 2017. Overall growth in the UAE is forecast to recover to 2.5 per cent, after falling to 2.3 per cent last year, according to the IMF.

dalsaadi@thenational.ae

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