*Qatar sets apart QR93bn for major projects next year
*Budget spending set at QR203.2bn in 2018
Major projects will have a whopping QR93bn set apart in Qatar’s budget for 2018, which sees higher spending and smaller deficit compared with the current financial year.
Budget spending (expenditure) has been set at QR203.2bn in 2018, up 2.4% on the current financial year, figures released in Doha on Tuesday showed.
The budget projects a revenue of QR175.1bn, up 2.9% on 2017, mainly due to an expected increase in the non-oil revenue.
The budget deficit is therefore expected to be QR28.1bn, down 1.1% from QR28.4bn in 2017. The deficit will be financed through the issuance of debt.
New contracts worth QR29bn, aimed at supporting growth in Qatar’s private sector are expected to be awarded in 2018.
His Highness the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani has issued Law Number (25) of 2017, endorsing the ‘State Budget for 2018’ commencing on January 1, 2018.
The 2018 budget has taken $45/barrel as the conservative oil price, same as that of 2017.
Key sectors such as health, education and transport along with those related to the 2022 FIFA World Cup will get QR83.5bn, or 41% of the total expenditure.
In line with the directives of the Emir, HE the Minister of Finance, Ali Shareef al-Emadi emphasised that the 2018 budget achieves efficiency in current expenditure, while maintaining allocations to major projects that contribute to Qatar’s development.
The budget is aligned with the Qatar 2030 Vision (QNV 2030), which focuses on economic, social, human and environmental development, al-Emadi added.
The 2018 budget also focuses on supporting food security projects, small and medium enterprises and the development of infrastructure in economic and free-trade zones.
The share on spending for major projects (QR93bn) represents nearly 46% of the total expenditure.
Nearly QR12.5bn has been allocated to land development for Qataris in the three-year period between 2018 and 2020. This includes water and electricity networks, sewerage, roads and other related infrastructure.
The 2018 budget has allocated funds for the development of around 3,000 houses for nationals. This year’s budget also provides for the development of logistics, economic and free-trade zones, as well as support for food security projects and agricultural production.
For salaries and wages, QR52.2bn has been set apart in the next year’s budget, up 8.8% on (QR48bn) in 2017. This increase is attributed to the launch of a number of new schools and educational facilities, along with new healthcare centres and hospitals in addition to expansions in some public facilities.
The health sector has been allocated QR22.7bn, which represents 11.2% of the total expenditure in 2018.
Major projects to improve Qatar’s healthcare services include expansions in Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) facilities, primary health care centres, Emergency Hospital and the establishment of new health centres, costing QR2.9bn over five years.
The education sector has been given an outlay of QR19bn in the 2018 budget, up 18% on the current year. This will meet the needs of some of the major projects currently underway in the education sector. These include facilities in medicine, pharmacology, and engineering and law colleges of Qatar University, expansion at the Education City and the establishment of new schools at a total cost of QR6.8bn over the next five years.
Transportation and other infrastructure projects were assigned the largest share in the 2018 budget with allocations of QR42bn, which represents 21% of the total expenditure.
These projects include the Metro, Lusail Light Train, Al Bustan Highway, Orbital Expressway, Al Rayyan/Dukhan Road, Al Khor Coastal Road, expansions in the water and electricity networks and development of infrastructure in existing areas.
The key sports sector and 2022 FIFA World Cup projects would have a total allocation of QR11.2bn in the next year’s budget. These are primarily focused on the completion of stadiums in Lusail, Qatar Foundation, Al Rayyan, Al Wakrah and Al Khor in addition to other sport projects.