Qatar unveils record $62 billion budget
DOHA - Gas-rich Qatar, pushing ahead with a massive infrastructure drive in preparation for hosting the 2022 football World Cup, unveiled a record budget Sunday of almost $62 billion.
The emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, approved a budget of 225.7 billion riyals ($61.98 billion) for the 2014-2015 fiscal year, up 3.5 percent from last year, said Finance Minister Ali Sharif al-Emadi.
The budget for the Qatari fiscal year which runs from April 1 to March 31 was based on an oil price of $65 per barrel.
Qatar expects six percent economic growth in 2014 and a 3.7 percent increase in this year's expenditure, rising to 218.4 billion riyals ($59.977 billion).
"Most of the increase in 2014/2015 expenditure estimates was directed to complete and implement development projects," the minister said, quoted by the official news agency QNA.
He said 87.5 billion riyals ($24 billion) was allocated for key projects.
"The budget has allocated enough funds for investments in the health and education sector as well as for the execution of mega infra-structure and transport projects such as the rail projects related to the preparation for hosting the 2022 World Cup," he said.
Investments in health, education, infrastructure and transport rose to 54 percent in the 2014/2015 budget, compared to 48 percent in the last fiscal year.
The tiny OPEC member state holds the world's third-largest gas reserves and produces around 77 million tonnes of liquefied natural gas per year, making it the world's largest supplier.