Qatar’s budget for fiscal 2020, which was presented recently, has laid strong emphasis on supporting development projects that facilitate the country’s economic growth and diversification.
Law No 26 of 2019 issued by His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani that approves the general budget for 2020, takes effect on January 1, 2020.
The budget shows receipts of QR211bn, unchanged from the 2019 budget; whereas expenditure at a five-year high, is slated to see almost 2% year-on-year jump to QR210.5bn.
The budget estimates a surplus of QR500mn, and is based on a conservative oil price estimate of $55 a barrel.
Infrastructure projects and other projects of strategic national importance and key sectors such as health and education have been provided huge outlays in the budget.
This will have multiplier effects on the economy with many sectors set to gain from higher expenditure. What this means is creation of many potential job opportunities for the nationals.
The budget places “significant importance” on providing funds for the development of new housing areas for nationals, enhancing food security projects, and the establishment of infrastructure and facilities in free zones, special economic zones, and industrial and logistics zones. These projects, according to the Ministry of Finance, will support economic growth and diversification.
“The 2020 budget is designed to achieve efficiency in the current expenditure while maintaining the allocations required for the completion of major approved projects. These contribute to the sustainable development targets of the Qatar National Vision 2030, which focuses on economic, social, human, and environmental development,” Ministry of Finance stated.
Expenditure in major projects has been budgeted at QR90bn, which is 0.6% higher than that in the previous budget. Major projects, which constitute almost 43% of total expenditure, represent the largest share of the overall budget.
It highlights the country’s commitment to timely complete the projects in leading sectors, including healthcare, education, and transportation, along with those related to the hosting of the FIFA World Cup in 2022, as per the approved schedule.
There are a large number of planned initiatives for highway and internal roads development, expansions of the existing roads system, water and electricity networks, sewerage networks, and other public utilities. Funds are also allocated to finance housing projects for nationals and landscape development. The housing plan will cost QR12bn over five years.
The main infrastructure projects under construction include the completion of highways including Sabah Al Ahmad Corridor; expansions in the water and electricity networks; integrated infrastructure in existing urban areas and developments in the sewerage networks in different regions of the country.
The allocation for the healthcare sector is QR22.6bn, representing around 11% of the total expenditure while education has been allocated QR22.1bn in the 2020 budget, representing 10.5% of total expenditure.
The budget focus on development is a clear attestation of the fact that the Qatari economy is in robust shape.
In its June report, the IMF said Qatar’s overall GDP (gross domestic product) growth is projected to reach 2.6% in 2019 from 2.2% in 2018, underpinned by a recovery in the hydrocarbon output and still robust growth of the non-hydrocarbon sector.
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