Salaries and wages in the budgetary allocations for the current financial year (2009-10) have been raised by 18 percent over the previous fiscal, says the Ministry of Economy and Finance.
“This indicates the keenness of the country’s leadership to be responsive to the demands of sustainable development,” Under-Secretary at the Ministry, H E Khalaf Al Mannai, said.
The country’s gross domestic product (GDP), or the size of the economy, was a huge QR373.4bn (over $100bn) last year, showing an impressive 44 percent increase over 2007, he said in remarks to the local media.
The deficit of QR5.8bn, which the present budget estimates, is barely two percent of the GDP. It is an acceptable percentage, he said. The assessment of the oil price of $40 per barrel (on which the budget is based) is realistic, too, and the lower rate has actually led to the estimation of the deficit. The deficit can be offset if the crude rates improve. There are other sources as well through which revenues can be increased to help repulse the deficit and turn it into surplus.
According to Al Mannai, 40 percent of the estimated expenditure has been allocated for strategic development projects alone, which is a very good sign as it would keep the economy upbeat.
The budget also shows that the ongoing global economic crisis has not affected Qatar as much as it has other countries. “The government has succeeded in keeping the ill-effects of the turmoil away,” said the Under-Secretary.
The Qatar Chamber of Commerce and Industry (QCCI), representative body of the private sector, has, meanwhile, lauded the budget and said it largely favoured businessmen.
QCCI’s Vice-President, Abdul Aziz Al Emadi, told this newspaper yesterday that higher public spending had bolstered the morale of the private sector as they were looking forward to a buoyant business environment in these times of crisis.
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