*Revenues estimated at QR160.1bn and expenditure QR194.7bn
*Generous allocations made for all vital sectors, including health, education, defence, infrastructure, environment and transport
Assuming a conservative $40 a barrel oil price, Qatar on Thursday presented a QR34.6bn deficit budget for 2021 but hinted at tapping the domestic and global debt markets to cover the expected shortfall.
The 2021 state budget, which was yesterday approved by His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, estimates revenue of QR160.1bn and expenditure of QR194.7bn, leaving a deficit of QR34.6bn.
The Amir issued Law No. 22 of 2020 approving the state's general budget for the fiscal year 2021. The law is effective as of January 1, 2021 and shall be published in the official gazette.
"This reflects a continued policy of conservative revenue estimation to maintain a fiscal balance and minimise the impact of the fluctuation in energy prices on the state budget," Finance Minister HE Ali Sherif al-Emadi said, reasoning for $40 oil price in the budget.
The 2021 revenue is estimated to be down 24.1% compared with 2020 budget, which was based on a $55 price, said the Ministry of Finance in its explanatory note.
The share of non-oil revenue in total revenue is estimated to be 24% but it is expected that some initiatives and programmes will contribute to increasing this share in the coming years.
The allocation for major projects is at QR72.1bn, which includes those for new projects along with ongoing development works in various sectors and those related to hosting the 2022 World Cup.
On the sectoral allocation, the budget earmarked QR42.2bn for the defence and security sector, which captures the largest share of 22% due to various projects, contracts, commitments and initiatives.
The public finance is earmarked QR39.9bn (20.5%), which includes interest on loans, expenditure towards government support programmes and strategic foodstuff reserves, besides pension funds for civilians and military personnel and social security allocations.
The municipality and environment sector allocation is QR25.4bn (13%) to further develop major infrastructure projects, provide water and electricity networks, besides continuing with the maintenance, development and expansion of roads.
The education sector allocation stands at QR17.4bn (8.9%). Among the most important projects related to educational services are those for the expansion and development of existing schools and educational institutions.
The total allocation for the health sector is QR16.5bn (8.5%). Among the most important projects in the field of healthcare development are the expansion of Hamad Medical Corporation facilities and the establishment of new primary care centres.
As much as QR13bn (6.7%) has been allocated to the culture and sports sector, which has been witnessing "exceptional" progress. It includes the completion of eight stadiums for the 2022 World Cup.
The transport and communication sector is allocated QR11.5bn (5.9%). The sector has been witnessing extensive development lately with its work on major projects, including the expansion of Hamad International Airport, the completion of the Doha Metro, the Lusail Tram system, the Qatar public transport programme, the development of Doha Old Port, the Hamad Port Food Security programme (Silos), and a number of IT projects.
Of the total expenditure, the allocations under “salaries and wages” are at QR57.9bn, a 1.9% dip from 2020 budget, owing to the reforms to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as the measures taken to enhance the efficiency of public spending.
The "current expenditure” allocation is at QR60.7bn, a 4.7% jump, due to the cost of operating newly completed projects and the continuation of World Cup projects and programmes.
The “minor capex or capital expenditure” allocation is QR4bn compared to QR3.5bn in the 2020 budget.