Dubai 2018 budget balloons as infrastructure spending rises

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Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum approved a record $15.4 billion (56.6 billion dirham) budget for next year, an increase of 19.5 percent from the original budget plan for 2017 because of a leap in spending on infrastructure.

The emirate expects to spend 46.5 percent more on infrastructure in 2018, accounting for 21 percent 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 percent next year, accounting for 30 percent of total spending, as over 3,100 public sector jobs are created. General, administrative, grant and support spending is expected to rise 11.5 percent, accounting for 42 percent.

Meanwhile, state revenues are projected to increase 12 percent to 50.4 billion dirhams, with fees providing 71 percent of revenues, taxes 21 percent and government investments 2 percent.

The government projected a budget deficit of 6.2 billion dirhams in 2018, or 1.56 percent of gross domestic product, compared to a deficit of 2.5 billion dirhams this year. But it said it would run an operating surplus, excluding investment spending and non-recurring revenue, of 2.5 billion dirhams.

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