Dubai 2018 budget balloons as infrastructure spending rises

At $15.4bn,next year’s budget is 19.5 per cent bigger than 2017’s original plan



Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum approved a record Dhs56.6bn ($15.4bn) budget for next year, an increase of 19.5 per cent from the original budget plan for 2017 because of a leap in spending on infrastructure.

The emirate expects to spend 46.5 per cent more on infrastructure in 2018, accounting for 21 per cent of its total spending, as it prepares to host the Expo 2020 world’s fair, expands its metro rail system and builds other projects, the government said on Sunday.

State salaries and wages are projected to increase 10 per cent next year, accounting for 30 per cent of total spending, as over 3,100 public sector jobs are created. General, administrative, grant and support spending is expected to rise 11.5 per cent, accounting for 42 per cent. Meanwhile, state revenues are projected to increase 12 per cent to Dhs50.4bn, with fees providing 71 per cent of revenues, taxes 21 per cent and government investments 2 per cent.

The government projected a budget deficit of Dhs6.2bn in 2018, or 1.56 per cent of gross domestic product, compared to a deficit of Dhs2.5bn this year. But it said it would run an operating surplus, excluding investment spending and non-recurring revenue, of Dhs2.5bn.