Qatar govt spending growth slows sharply
Doha, August 19, 2013
Qatar's government spending rose 2.2 percent to a record 178.2 billion riyals ($48.9 billion) in the 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 178.6 billion riyals for the fiscal year that ended in March, finance ministry data released by the central bank showed.
Development expenditure was 49.3 billion riyals, well below the 62.1 billion riyals 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 34.1 billion riyals 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 277.4 billion riyals. 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 99.2 billion riyals last fiscal year, or 14.2 percent of gross domestic product.
The government plans to raise spending to 210.6 billion riyals in the current fiscal year as it steps up the infrastructure building programme. - Reuters