In his capacity as the Ruler of Dubai, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid
Al Maktoum, has approved the Government of Dubai’s 2018 General Budget Law No. (21) for the year 2017, with AED 56.6 billion expenditure, according to the new budget classification.
Featuring a 19.5 % year-on-year increase, the budget for the fiscal year 2018 comes in line with the Dubai Strategic Plan 2021's targets and future commitments, especially Expo 2020.
The budget features a rise in infrastructure spending, which makes up 21 percent of the total government expenditure.
This reflects the directives of His Highness the Ruler of Dubai to raise infrastructure efficiency in Dubai in order for the emirate to become the preferred destination for living, tourism, and business across all sectors.
"Over the coming years, Dubai Government actively seeks to improve public budget performance continuously, in order to achieve financial sustainability, fulfil the emirate’s commitments, and realise the strategic objectives of Dubai 2021 Plan. Further, this aims to make the upcoming mega international event, Expo 2020 Dubai, one of the best in the history of Expo exhibitions, in line with the vision of our prudent leadership, aiming to make Dubai always ready to impress the world", said Abdulrahman Saleh Al Saleh, Director General, Dubai Government’s Department of Finance (DOF).
"The Expo presents challenges that require us to focus on availing construction expenses needed for the mega infrastructure projects related to Expo 2020 Dubai. Such projects will only benefit the success of the huge international expo upon launching in three years, but is also expected to serve the emirate for decades to come, especially in light of Dubai’s noticeable urban expansion towards the Expo project area" Al Saleh continued.
"Dubai’s commitment to Expo excellence, and to UAE’s leading status on the international scene has led to approving a budget with an AED 6.2 billion deficit, representing 1.55 percent of the total GDP in Dubai. This is a result of a 46.5 percent rise in the infrastructural spending over the fiscal year 2017, and including over AED 5 billion dedicated to Expo projects," Al Saleh stated.
The 2018 Budget has also shown the importance that the government gives to social services, including healthcare, education, culture and housing, which have contributed to the high rating of the UAE in global competitiveness indices, and its top regional ranking in the happiness index.
On the other hand, the government has managed to achieve financial sustainability by achieving an operating surplus of AED 2.5 billion. This illustrates the breadth of the financial solvency of Dubai, in accordance with the directives of the Dubai Supreme Fiscal Committee.
The Public Private Partnership law forms an ideal platform to build modern practices in the management of financial resources efficiently and effectively. Over the coming years, this law will contribute to the implementation of some public projects in partnership with the private sector, which will enhance creativity and innovation, further raise the government's performance levels, enhance government efficiency, and enhance transparency.
Dubai expects estimated public revenues of AED 50.4 billion, with a 12% increase over the fiscal year 2017. Such revenues depend on the approach adopted by Dubai over the past decade that has led to no dependence on oil revenues and greater government revenues. Oil revenues represent 6% of the total expected revenues for the fiscal year 2018, which will enhance the emirate’s financial sustainability.
Non-tax revenues (fees) represent 71%, and tax revenues represent 21% of the total 2018 projected revenues, while revenues from government investments represent 2%.
The budget’s overall spending saw a 19.5% increase over 2017. The increase was due to the focus on meeting the needs of Expo 2020, whose investment value is estimated at AED 25 billion, as well as the expansion of the Dubai Metro's Route 2020, estimated at around AED 10.6 billion.
In this context, DOF has reached the final stage of the AED 5.5 billion financing agreement based on the export credit guarantee system.
In continuation of the Government’s endeavours to provide job opportunities, the public budget offered more than 3,100 jobs, with salaries and wages amounting to 30% of the total government spending in 2018. Moreover, salaries and wages saw a 10% increase over 2017.
General, administrative, grants and support spending recorded 42% of the total government spending, a 11.5% growth over 2017, which reflects the effort to offer the best social, health, and education services to the community, enhance the standard of public services and support innovation and creativity policies.
The Government continues to support infrastructure projects as well as future projects such as AFC Cup and Expo 2020 Dubai.
Infrastructure allocation increased by 46.5% over the fiscal year 2017, making up 21% of total government expenditure.
This reflects the emirate's keen efforts to implement the Expo 2020 projects according to a well-studied schedule that includes the main expo building, and the supporting service projects, such as roads, bridges, sewage, transport and metro lines, as well as work to prepare the entire area for post-expo events and supporting events tourism.
Additionally, Dubai managed to achieve financial sustainability by achieving an operating surplus of AED 2.5 billion, illustrating Dubai’s ability to finance all operating expenditures and achieve a surplus from the collected operating revenues.
The fiscal year 2018 highlights the priority that the government has placed on human resources, which is seen by His Highness the Ruler of Dubai as "the true wealth of the nation". The expenditure on social development sector fields of health, education, housing, community development, and innovation represents 33% of the total government spending.
Also, the Government allocated 16% of total spending to the security, justice and safety sector, in order to develop it, and enable it to play its vital role.
Moreover, Dubai has been focusing attention on economy, infrastructure, and transport sectors as an integrated sector that it seeks to develop continuously. This played a major role in the UAE occupying a leading global position in several international indices.
The Expo 2020 was a major driver of accelerated growth in this sector, which makes up 43% of the 2018 total spending.
Allocating over AED 5 billion to Expo 2020 projects alone shows how serious Dubai is in addressing future commitments.
Dubai has also given its support to the Government Excellence, Innovation and Creativity Sector by allocating 8% of total government expenditure to develop performance and embed a culture of excellence, innovation and creativity.