Capital expenditures on Dubai’s infrastructure projects, especially related to Expo 2020 Dubai, will top the priorities of the public budget as part of ensuring that key projects are completed on schedule, with Expo 2020-related projects to receive a total of $8bn (AED30bn) by 2021, according to the director general of Dubai’s Department of Finance (DoF), Abdulrahman Saleh Al Saleh, Construction Week reported.
According to a Dubai Media Office report, Al Saleh said that the continuous performance improvement of Dubai’s public budget through the last five years has been driven by the diretives of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. to maintain the sustainability of Dubai’s financial system, stimulate greater entrepreneurship and investment through economic stimulus measures, and enhance Dubai’s competitiveness as a global investment hub.
Sharing details about Dubai’s economic progress at the Meet the CEO event organized by the Government of Dubai Media Office (GDMO), Dubai’s DoF stated that the emirate’s sovereign debt reached $32bn (AED117bn) in September 2019; its public debt to GDP ratio was below 27.9%; and its debt-service coverage ratio amounted to 5% of the general budget.
Al Saleh said that Dubai is able to service all its sovereign debts according to schedule, and added that, when needed, DoF will explore other financing options – such as bonds, sukuk, expodubai infrart guarantee, and securitisation – before tapping the debt market to fund infrastructure projects
According to Dubai Media Office, the head of Dubai’s DoF stated that Dubai will approach the debt market only to finance infrastructure projects and not for operational expenditures, adding that Dubai is capable of meeting all its financial commitments without increasing fees.
Al Saleh also spoke about Phase 1 of the Dubai Government Service Costing Program, ‘Almas’, which seeks to enhance transparency and accuracy in costing government fees, and will include the collection of data and the calculation of the cost of 1,400 government services, including Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), Dubai Customs, Dubai Municipality, Dubai Police, and Dubai Economic Department.
At a later stage, the project will cover 5,500 services provided by 23 revenue-generating government entities.
Dubai’s DoF has also started work on a framework for public-private partnerships (PPPs) and launched projects such as the $953m (AED3.5bn) Dubai Municipality Waste-to-Energy 30-year project in partnership with a private company that is set to kick off in 2020.