Qatar’s budget produced a QAR 15bn (USD 4.1bn) surplus in the first three months of 2013, recording a 84% q/q increase on a sharp revenue growth which helped offset surging spending on public wages and infrastructure, the central bank said. The reading accounted for 8.1% of full-year GDP forecast, up from 4.5% in the previous quarter.
Higher hydrocarbon prices and output pushed state income up by 55% q/q to QAR 79.585bn but spending climbed 49% q/q to QAR 64.582bn as the government increased public wages to help avoid any potential unrest. The FY 12/13 state budget, which ended in March, assumed an oil price of USD 65 a barrel, up from USD 55 a barrel the year before.
The new state budget for FY 2013-14, which started on April 1, envisages an 18% y/y increase in spending to QAR 210.6bn (USD 58bn) and QAR 218bn in revenue (up 6%).The new budget, thus, implies a QAR 7.4bn surplus. The government will increase significantly public spending on infrastructure, public wages, education and other social projects. The budget assumes a conservative USD 65 a barrel crude oil price, the same the year before.
Spending on public projects will jump 40% y/y to QAR 74.9bn in the current fiscal year. Spending on education was also upped by 15% given the sector’s value-added share of 3.8% of GDP, according to the finance ministry. Current spending will rise 27% y/y to QAR 77.5bn in the current FY given a 24% increase in public salaries spending to QAR 44.3bn. Capital expenditure will likewise rise by 9% to QAR 13.9bn.
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