Sheikh Mohammed approves Dubai's 2024-2026 budget of Dh246.6 billion

He also gave green light to law regarding the general budget of the Dubai Government for 2024 with expenditures of Dh79.1 billion

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Published: Mon 6 Nov 2023, 8:11 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Nov 2023, 8:44 PM

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, on Monday, approved the Government of Dubai's general budget for the fiscal cycle of 2024-2026, with total expenditures of Dh246.6 billion.

Sheikh Mohammed also approved Law No. (20) of 2023 regarding the General Budget of the Dubai Government for the Fiscal Year 2024, with expenditures estimated at Dh79.1 billion, which reflects the emirate's economic recovery and boosts its ambitions to stimulate the macro-economy and support the objectives of the Dubai Strategic Plan 2030 development project as well as the Dubai Economic Agenda “D33”.

Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai, said: “The 2024-2026 budget charts a financial roadmap for accelerating our ambitions to foster exponential economic growth and consolidate Dubai’s position as a global economic powerhouse.

"Guided by the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the new budget will play an instrumental role in achieving our goals to double the city’s GDP and propel it into the ranks of the world's top three urban economies over the next decade. At the same time, the budget reflects our commitment to harmoniously balance the highest growth ambitions with economic stability, underpinned by prudent financial policies.

“Reflecting the leadership’s progressive vision, the budget emphasises support for key sectors that are vital to the future and the emirate’s transition into a new phase of dynamic growth driven by digital and knowledge-based innovation. It will also support our efforts to nurture homegrown entrepreneurship and create a high-growth environment for all sectors.

"Furthermore, the financial sustainability, competitiveness and transparency embedded in this budget will make Dubai even more appealing to investors and businesses from across the world seeking new opportunities. The new budget provides the perfect springboard for Dubai to realise its aspirations for building a resilient and prosperous tomorrow for the city and its people,” Sheikh Hamdan further said.

The financial plan for the next three years (2024-2026) confirms Dubai's determination to continue developing and stimulating entrepreneurship, attracting more foreign investment, promoting social welfare and consolidating the emirate's position as a land of opportunity and innovation. It also demonstrates Dubai's vision for the future by supporting fields like space research, digitisation and artificial intelligence.

Abdulrahman Saleh Al Saleh, Director General of the Department of Finance (DOF) for the Government of Dubai, said: “The announced budget cycle represents a flexible and developable financial plan that will achieve financial sustainability for the government and increase competitiveness and transparency, which in turn will advance Dubai’s attractiveness for foreign investments.”

“The budget for the fiscal year 2024, which was approved with total expenditures of Dh79.1 billion, meets the requirements of the objectives of both Dubai Strategic Plan 2030 and Dubai Economic Agenda D33. It also works to achieve the vision of Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council, who directed us to increase government support for the sectors of social development, citizen housing, government work development, government digitalisation, scientific research, institutional agility, and global competitiveness enhancement,” added Al Saleh.

DOF’s Director General also affirmed the Dubai government's commitment to implementing the directives of Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance of the UAE, to adopt disciplined financial policies. “This has led to the establishment of a general reserve from annual revenues that is set to reach around Dh20.6 billion as planned for the three years 2024-2026. This is in addition to what is decided by Dubai’s Supreme Fiscal Committee chaired by Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, in terms of reserving annual surpluses, which contribute to achieving financial sustainability and enhance the financial position of the emirate,” Al Saleh said.

“DOF expects to achieve an operating surplus of up to 3.3% of Dubai’s GDP, during the 2024-2026 financial plan, in order to establish the foundations of the emirate’s financial sustainability.” Al Saleh concluded.

Projected revenues in 2024

As a result of the emirate’s rapid and efficient recovery procedures from the consequences of the global pandemic, the Dubai government expects to achieve estimated public revenues of Dh90.6 billion, of which Dh85.1 billion have been allocated to the budget, and Dh5.5 billion to the general reserve.

Projected expenditures in 2024

Al Saleh said: “The announcement of expenditures amounting to Dh79.1 billion in the 2024 fiscal year budget sends a positive message to the business community that Dubai is pursuing an expansionary financial policy, which adds great confidence to the emirate’s economy and contributes to attracting more direct investments.

Salaries and wages constitute 26% of total government expenditures, and grants and government support expenditures constitute 23%, while 24% of total expenditures have been allocated to general and administrative expenditures.

Despite the completion of many strategic projects, the activation of the public-private partnership law, and the development of project financing through long-term financing means the government has allocated 8% of total expenditures to construction projects. This sends a strong signal to the private sector about Dubai’s determination to continue developing its infrastructure and delivering more strategic development projects.

Dubai is also keen to hedge against any situation that may result from global crises by allocating a special reserve of eight per cent of the total expected expenditures in the budget. Dubai has also maintained a debt service ratio that does not exceed seven per cent of its total expenditures, as part of its disciplined financial policy.

Sectoral distribution of expenditures in 2024

A total of 34% of total government expenditures of the 2024 budget goes to the social development sector in the areas of health, education, scientific research, housing, caring for needy families and for women and children, preparing youth, developing sports, and caring for senior citizens and retirees, as well as caring for people of determination.

Dubai government has allocated 19% of total expenditures to the security, justice and safety sector, to further develop it and enhance its ability to perform professionally and proactively, until it has become one of the sectors that the emirate boasts on the global stage.

Spending on infrastructure, including roads, tunnels, bridges, transportation, sewage stations, parks, renewable energy sources and waste treatment facilities, has accounted for 42% of total spending. The emirate’s government has also placed high emphasis on supporting the public services sector, government excellence, creativity, innovation and scientific research by allocating five per cent of total government spending to develop performance and foster a culture of excellence, innovation and creativity.

Arif Abdulrahman Ahli, Executive Director of Planning & General Budget Sector at DOF, said: “Dubai government's adoption of a medium-term financial planning model and the announcement

of a three-year financial plan fulfills the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and the directives of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.”

“The 2024 budget meets the requirements of the Dubai Strategic Plan 2030 development project and beyond,” added Ahli. “It serves as a transparent statement of the emirate's stable financial position. The budget reflects the Dubai government’s disciplined financial policies based on best practices. An expected operating surplus of 16% of total revenues ensures that Dubai maintains high levels of financial sustainability.”

“DOF seeks to develop government spending efficiency programmes by activating the Unified and Green Procurement programme and stimulating partnerships with the private sector. As part of its efforts to develop the budget, DOF has also launched the Program & Performance Budget Development plan, which will link strategic planning with financial planning. This confirms that the Dubai government follows the principles of leadership and transparency. Today, government entities are contributing to bringing the budget to global heights in terms of preparation and achieving performance rates that are consistent with international best practices, as the government has now obtained the highest scores in implementing budgets during previous years according to the ‘Government Performance Index’ set by the global ‘Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability’ programme,” Ahli concluded.

Jamal Hamed Al Marri, Executive Director of Central Accounts Sector, said: “DOF has further streamlined its efforts to consolidate development and innovation by setting up the government smart service fees collection programme, which yielded a 22% growth in smart collection via digital channels in 2022, compared to the previous year.”

Al Marri stressed that the Dubai government has become one of the first local governments to reduce reliance on cash collection, while showing interest in publishing financial data and enhancing transparency. “The Financial Data platform contributes to making financial data available to government entities, corporates and individuals, which in turn contributes to increasing the emirate’s competitiveness. DOF is constantly developing programmes that improve the public finance ecosystem and achieve financial excellence through the International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) implementation, which made Dubai government one of the first governments to implement these standards in the region. This will have a great impact in demonstrating best results of budget implementation and distinguished government performance development."

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