Qatar plans to increase government spending by 3.7 percent to QAR218.4bn ($59.98bn) in the 2014/15 fiscal year, the QNA state news agency said on Sunday, quoting from a budget approved by the Gulf state’s ruler.
The OPEC member state expects a record QAR225.7bn in revenues, up from QAR218bn in the previous year’s budget, the agency said. The calculations are based on an assumed oil price of $65 a barrel, QNA added.
The budget is “the largest in the history of the state of Qatar,” Finance Minister Ali Sherif Al Emadi said, according to the agency.
Qatar, the world’s top liquefied natural gas (LNG) exporter, is expected to implement a massive infrastructure building programme in preparation to host the 2022 World Cup soccer tournament.
However the International Monetary Fund has said some big-ticket projects have been scaled down.
Qatar is likely to reschedule 15 percent of its planned building projects for the coming years and go over budget, sources familiar with government policy told Reuters earlier this month.
The projected budget assumes a deficit, but it is based on a relatively low oil price so actual revenues may be higher. Oil is currently trading at more than $100 a barrel.
Data earlier this month showed that Qatar’s government spending rose nearly 33 percent to QAR93.2bn in the first half of this fiscal year, speeding up after a slow start to World Cup 2022 projects.
Expenditure in April-September accounted for a little over 44 percent of the QAR210.6bn Qatar had planned to spend in the 2013/14 fiscal year.
Difficulties in planning, coordination and arranging the necessary resources as well as bureaucratic obstacles have delayed state spending in the past.
Analysts polled by Reuters in January forecast the OPEC member’s fiscal surplus at 9.0 percent of GDP in 2013/14, shrinking to 5.9 percent in the coming fiscal year.