Qatar’s Emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, has issued a decree endorsing the country’s highest ever general budget for the 2013-2014 fiscal year, which began April 1, QNA reports.
Revenues are forecasted at $59.9 billion, six percent higher than last year, but most of that will be allotted for government spending.
Public project spending is expected to increase by 18 percent over the next 12 months, from $49 billion last to year to $57.8 billion this year, Finance and Economy Minister Youssef Kamal said.
That leaves a planned budget surplus of about $2 billion, a steep decrease from last fiscal year’s $7.6 billion.
For the second year in a row, the budget assumed a conservative oil price of $65 a barrel when calculating projected revenue, which means the surplus could turn out higher than forecast. The country had previously based its budgets on $55 a barrel.
Diving into mega projects
Analysts who spoke to Reuters said the projections indicate that, after a slow start, Qatar is finally moving to jumpstart the many mega projects it must complete before the 2022 World Cup.
“It shows how serious the country is about racheting up infrastructure development to get ready for 2022,” Farah Ahmed Hersi, senior economist at Masraf al Rayan bank in Doha, told the news service.
With nine years to go and major projects like the railway, several new football stadiums and a new seaport barely under way, concerns about delays are already been raised.
According to a PricewaterhouseCoopers survey conducted earlier this year, some 80 percent of companies polled in Qatar and the UAE said a project they were working on had suffered a delay in 2012, with nearly half (46 percent) saying deadlines had been pushed back more than six months.
Funding constraints and poor management were among the most common reasons cited, with respondents saying the expected 2013 to be no different.
A shortage of materials and an expected rise in construction inflation could also hamper development.
Credit: Photo by 401(K) 2013