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Qatar Gov’t Annual Spending Rises to $48.9bn

Middle East : 23 August 2013

Source: Arabian Business News

Qatar’s government spending rose 2.2 percent to a record QR178.2bn ($48.9bn) in its last fiscal year, slowing sharply from double-digit increases seen in the previous decade, official data showed.

It was the first time that the government’s annual spending undershot its budget plan since 1990 – a sign of the difficulties which Qatar is having in pushing forward huge and complex infrastructure projects.

Some big projects, such as a new airport, have been delayed by difficulties in planning, coordination and arranging the necessary resources for them, as well as by bureaucratic obstacles. So the government has so far ended up spending less than it aimed to spend.

Total state spending came in slightly below the initial plan of QR178.6bn for the fiscal year that ended in March, finance ministry data released by the central bank showed.

Development expenditure was QR49.3bn, well below the QR62.1bn which the government had originally earmarked for the year.

The 2.2 percent rise in total spending last fiscal year compared to an average annual growth rate of 24 percent in 2002-2012. The wealthy gas exporter overspent its state budget by 23 percent on average during that period.

Qatar spent a record QR34.1bn on public sector wages in 2012/13, nearly 15 percent more than in the previous year, the data showed.

But revenue jumped 24.7 percent to a record QR277.4bn. Receipts from oil and gas sales accounted for roughly 62 percent of state income in 2012/13, down from 70 percent in the previous year because of a rise in investment returns and other revenue. Qatar is one of the world’s most active sovereign investors in global markets.

The government’s budget surplus therefore more than doubled to a record QR99.2bn last fiscal year, or 14.2 percent of gross domestic product.

The government plans to raise spending to QR210.6bn in the current fiscal year as it steps up the infrastructure building programme.

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