Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 17 January 2020

Sharjah approves 2% spending increase for 2020 budget

The emirate has earmarked one-third of expenditure for infrastructure development

Sharjah is ramping up spending in sectors such as social programmes, economic activities, culture and education. Courtesy Al Majaz Waterfront
Sharjah is ramping up spending in sectors such as social programmes, economic activities, culture and education. Courtesy Al Majaz Waterfront

Sharjah approved spending of Dh29.1 billion in its 2020 budget, a 2 per cent increase on the previous year with one-third of the proceeds to be channelled into infrastructure.

The UAE’s third-biggest economy is also ramping up spending in sectors such as social programmes, economic activities, culture and education among others, Sharjah Finance Department said in a statement on Sunday.

"The general budget for this year is considered the largest in the history of the emirate,” said Sharjah Central Finance Department chairman Sheikh Mohammed bin Saud Al Qasimi.

“The aim is to ensure financial stability and improve the emirate's competitiveness by providing a business-friendly environment for local and international investors, and help in the growth of the tourism sector across various fields, including cultural, historical, therapeutic, and recreational tourism.”

The 33 per cent of expenditure allocated to infrastructure development is 10 per cent higher than last year. A further 36 per cent of the total is earmarked for economic development with an aim to stimulate growth.

This year, the government has marginally increased spending by 1 per cent in scientific and cultural initiatives. Increased spending will create about 500 jobs for Emiratis, the statement added.

Ratings agency S&P Global said in October that Sharjah’s economy is expected to grow steadily by an average of 2 per cent between 2019 and 2022 with a long-term credit rating of 'BBB+/A-2'. The economic growth would mainly be driven by the emirate’s manufacturing, construction and tourism sectors, S&P said.

The northern emirate is home to various freezones such as the Hamriyah Freezone and Sharjah Airport International Free Zone that target heavy industries. S&P said that Sharjah would also benefit from overall growth in UAE economy, and particularly neighbouring Dubai.

The ratings agency said that the emirate’s economy is projected to grow 2.5 per cent in 2020 owing to an improved public spending and a recovery of domestic demand.

Updated: January 12, 2020 07:12 PM

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