Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has approved the emirate’s new fiscal budget for 2013 that includes government expenditure of Dhs34.1 billion, up six per cent from 2012.
The budget also forecast an increase in revenues of 7.8 per cent from last year, and lowered budget deficit to below 0.5 per cent of GDP.
The gap in the 2013 budget has been reduced by 18 per cent from 2012, with public revenues set at Dhs32.62 billion, and public expenditures assigned at Dhs34.12 billion.
Abdul Rahman Saleh Al Saleh, director general of the Department of Finance said in a statement that there was a possibility of balancing the 2013 budget but added that the government preferred “to expand its expenditures in a bid to support the emirate’s economy by increasing public spending for the fiscal year 2013 by six per cent over the 2012 budget.”
Six per cent of the public spending has been allocated to debt servicing, and 26 per cent of the 2013 budget has been earmarked for spending on health, education, housing and social development.
The budget also aims to create 1,600 job opportunities for Emiratis.
Government fees, representing 62 per cent of total government revenues, have increased by 9.8 per cent compared to 2012.
“The rise in fees revenue is due to real economic growth and reflects the expected growth rates in the emirate. It also reflects the development and diversity of government services which allows the implemented policy of not raising any government fees in the emirate, as adopted post the global economic crisis,” said the statement.
Tax revenues representing customs and foreign bank taxes are up 15 per cent year-on-year in 2013 and net oil revenues are 11.8 per cent higher because of higher oil prices.
In terms of government expenditures, salaries and wages are set at 39 per cent, general and administrative expenses represent 24 per cent, and subsidies and grants represent 11 per cent of total expenditure.
Another 16 per cent of spending has been allocated for the completion of infrastructure and developmental projects in the emirate.
“Although this reflects a 4.8 per cent decrease from 2012, it is due to the completion of several large projects. Going forward, the emirate intends to launch new projects to support Expo 2020,” said the statement.
The government also indicated that it is committed to not using oil revenues to fund infrastructure projects.
The 2013 budget aims to “focus on a prudent fiscal policy that provides the stimuli necessary to economic growth in the emirate, raise the efficiency of government agencies to provide the best services, health and social care for the citizens and residents,” said the statement.