Tuesday, Jan 03, 2017

Sharjah: His Highness Shaikh Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, has approved Dh22 billion budget for 2017, the largest in the emirate’s history.

The total budget outlay is 3 per cent higher from 2016’s budget and focuses on areas such as economic, social, scientific and culture with added emphasis on infrastructure investments.

The budget expenditures this year focuses on areas such as national workforce investment and various social care provisions to enhance living standards of Emiratis. The budget targets to create 1800 new jobs for Emiratis in different government departments.

“The emirate’s general budget is based on a set of strategic, operational and financial rules. They are in line with the guiding principles of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah, the directives of the Emirate’s Executive Council and the Finance Department’s vision for developing an innovation-based financial strategy, which ensure economic prosperity as well as develop infrastructure and community services,” said Shaikh Mohammad Bin Saud Al Qasimi, Chairman of the Central Finance Department of Sharjah.

Out of the total budget outlay of Dh22 billion, economic development has been allocated 41 per cent, reflecting the Emirate’s growing interest in enhancing its economic competitiveness. While infrastructure gets about 31 per cent of the budget allocation higher by 7 per cent compared to 2016, culture and education related spending will account for about 20 per cent of the total budget

“This figure maintains the government’s focus on positioning the emirate as the capital of Islamic and Arabic culture and devoting special care to community development and education,” said Walid Al Sayegh, Director General of the Central Finance Department of Sharjah.

Allocation towards improving government administration services accounts for 8 per cent of the total spending plan.

On the revenue front, operating revenues of different government department’s account for 74 per cent of the emirate’s total revenue base expected for 2017. Capital income represents 17.5 per cent of the government’s total revenue. While customs makes up 7 per cent, the Oil & Gas sector accounts for 1 per cent; and taxes on total anticipated restructuring revenue in 2017 is estimated at 0.5 per cent in the 2017 budget.

Credit rating agencies Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s have assigned stable outlook for Sharjah’s credit ratings and public finances despite slowing GDP growth and fiscal weakenings across the region.

Budget highlights

7 per cent increase in budget allocation for infrastructure compared to 2016

7 per cent of budget allocated to the enhancement of social care programmes

3 per cent increase in total government spending compared to 2016.

1800 new jobs in different government departments will be created for Emiratis in 2017.

40 per cent of the budget will be allocated to wages and salaries

By Babu Das Augustine Banking Editor

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