In a recent statement regarding Qatar’s 2020 budget, the Minister of Finance confirmed that strong emphasis has been given to support development projects that facilitate the country’s economic growth and diversification.
The budget allocated to major projects in Qatar increased by 3% from the budget plan for 2018, to US$ 57.8 billion. The 2020 budget shows receipts of QAR 210,5 Billion, unchanged from the 2019 budget; whereas expenditure at a five-year high, is slated to see almost 2% year-on-year jump to QAR 210.5 Billion. The budget estimates a surplus of QAR 500 million, and is based on a conservative oil price estimate of US $55 a barrel. This is to ensure the regular implementation of development projects, which mainly revolve around key sectors such as health, education and transport.
The budget places “significant importance” on providing funds for the development of new housing areas for nationals, enhancing food security projects, and the establishment of infrastructure and facilities in free zones, special economic zones, and industrial and logistics zones. These projects, according to the Ministry of Finance, will support economic growth and diversification.
Allocations for the health sector were 22.6 billion Qatari riyals, representing around 11% of the total expenditure in 2020, whereas the education sector had an allocation of 22.1 billion Qatari riyals in the 2018 budget, up by 10,5% compared of total expenditure with 2019. However, transport continues to be the most significant sector in public projects, with allocations of 42 billion Qatari riyals (21% of total expenditure). In the 2019 budget, revenues are expected to surge by 21% and 48 billion Qatari riyals are earmarked for the award of new projects unrelated to the non-oil sector.
The projects relating to the health and education sectors are part of the Qatar National Strategy, which aims for a greater standard of living for its citizens while maintaining the importance of sustainability. As for transportation, there are a large number of planned initiatives for highway and internal roads development, expansions of the existing roads system.
Funds are also allocated to finance housing projects for nationals and landscape development. The housing plan will cost QAR 12 billion over five years.