HE al-Emadi: says education, health, infrastructure and transportation sectors account for 54% of the total expenditure in the budget for 2014/15.
By Pratap John
Higher outlay for infrastructure upgrade and enhanced allocation for health, education and transport sectors are the key highlights of Qatar’s budget for fiscal 2014/15, which estimates total revenue of QR225.7bn and expenditure of QR218.4bn.
HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani yesterday issued a Decree (Number 49 of 2014), endorsing the State Budget for fiscal 2014/15, Qatar’s largest ever, which takes effect on April 1.
The budget for the next fiscal, which projects a surplus of QR7.3bn, has been based on a conservative oil price assumption of $65 a barrel that remains unchanged from the previous year.
HE the Minister of Finance Ali Sharif al-Emadi yesterday 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. 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 that “achieving balance” between revenues and expenditures was an essential element in budget planning and aimed at consolidating financial stability and sustainable development.
The increase in financial year 2014/2015 expenditures has been made for the completion and implementation of key development projects (that have been allocated QR87.5bn, up 16.8% on the previous budget).
Projects valued at an estimated QR664bn are “anticipated to be implemented” during the next five years. This excludes oil and gas projects or private sector projects.
Al-Emadi said that education, health, infrastructure and transportation sectors accounted for 54% of the total expenditure in the budget for 2014/15. This represents a 6% increase compared with the budget for fiscal 2013/2014.
“This will provide a leap forward for these sectors and positively contribute to the overall development of the country,” al-Emadi stressed.
In view of Qatar’s commitment to improve its infrastructure to a world-scale, the budget has set apart QR75.6bn for infrastructure projects, which shows a 22% increase compared with the previous financial year.
This, according to an official release, “will enable the completion of the major infrastructure expansion programme and development projects and to start building the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup stadiums”.
Work will start on seven (out of the eight) stadiums at Lusail, Al Wakrah, Al Khor, Al Rayyan, New Airport, Khalifa Stadium and Qatar Foundation Stadium.
Since the transportation sector is a key part of the infrastructure required to enhance sustainable development, 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 addition, electricity, water, and sewerage networks will be expanded to keep up with the growth in urban areas in the country.
Funds allocated to the education sector reach QR26.3bn, a 7.3% increase compared to the previous budget.
Funds have been earmarked for new expansion of facilities at Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development and Qatar University.
Provisions have been made to build new schools in Doha and other areas in the country as part of a plan targeting the establishment of some 85 schools, 29 of which are currently under construction.
Moreover, much attention has been given to pre-school education as part of a plan targeting the establishment of some 21 kindergartens, 15 of which are under construction. Most of these facilities are expected to be completed within 18 months.
Al-Emadi said the country’s health sector had been budgeted QR15.7bn in the new financial year, up 12.5% on the previous fiscal.
“This increase has been aimed at the implementation of a set of advanced strategic programmes to enhance the sector and achieve high standards of health services,” the minister noted.
Funds have been allocated to complete the Sidra Medical and Research Center, expand facilities at Hamad General Hospital and for the Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) to establish a dedicated hospital for workers and build new health centres.
This comes as part of a plan to establish some 19 new health centres, six of which are under construction at Al Karaana, Al Ghuwariyah, Al Rawda, Al Nuaim, Al Muntazah and Umm Salal.
Funds allocated to provide housing for Qataris have increased to QR3.3bn, up 18% from the previous fiscal budget. These funds will be used to complete some 3,700 housing units currently under construction and to build 2,300 new homes benefiting 6,000 nationals, ensuring that there is no further waiting list for citizens’ housing.
The government will continue to encourage and support the private sector, equipping it to play a fundamental role in the country’s sustainable development process in future.
“The resilient growth anticipated in the non-oil sector offers the private sector an opportunity to boost its contribution to GDP growth, facilitating further economic diversification and overall sustainable development.
“The government has adopted a set of policies to support the private sector, such as avoiding competition between the public and private sectors in the local market, assigning more of project implementation to the private sector and encouraging the ministries and state institutions to outsource their supporting business services to private companies,” al-Emadi said.
The budget for the next fiscal projects a surplus of QR7.3bn
‘Effective measures’ to combat inflationary pressures
Qatar’s expansionary fiscal policy and public expenditures require an effective management to control any potential inflationary pressures, said HE the Minister of Finance Ali Sharif al-Emadi. “There is a continuous co-ordination between both financial and monetary policies. Overall financial policy as well as its role in sustaining the development goals is regularly reviewed and assessed, along with maintaining financial stability. The Ministry of Finance works in co-ordination with Qatar Central Bank on taking effective measures necessary for combating any potential inflationary pressures that will help in controlling inflation at acceptable levels,” al-Emadi said.