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Qatar king approves $10 bln budget for 2005/2006

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Doha: A decree endorsing Qatar's general state budget for fiscal 2005-06 has been issued, Qatar News Agency reported.

The decree, issued by His Highness Shaikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani, Emir of Qatar,

has been in effect since April 1.

The budget projects revenues of $10.45 billion (Dh38.4 billion) against expenditures of $10.39 billion (Dh38.1 billion).

The budget is based on an oil price of $27 a barrel, Qatar News Agency (QNA) said.

The total revenues projected for the upcoming fiscal year are $3.2 billion (Dh11.7 billion) higher than revenues in the 2004-2005 budget, while projected expenditures exceed those in the previous budget by $2.59 billion (Dh9.5 billion), QNA said.

Qatar's overall economy grew in value from 29.702 billion Qatari riyals (Dh29.9 billion) in 1995 to 64.646 billion riyals (Dh65.2 billion) in 2000 and is expected to reach 121.477 billion riyals (Dh122.5 billion) by end of 2005, according to a statement by Yousuf Hussain Kamal, Minister of Finance.

"Thanks to this economic growth, the state was able to keep inflation at a reasonable level [and enjoy] a current account surplus," Kamal said.

"The production of liquefied natural gas rose from zero in 1995 to 11.5 million tonnes annually in 2000. It is expected to grow to 77 million tonnes in 2010," Kamal said.

"Oil production is expected to reach 720,000 barrels per day by the end of 2005," he said

Revenue estimates for fiscal 2005-2006 were set at 38.028 billion riyals (Dh38.3 billion) an increase of 11.835 million riyals (Dh11.9 billion), or 45 per cent, over the 26.192 billion riyals (Dh26.4 billion) estimated for fiscal 2004-2005.

Overall spending for fiscal 2005-2006 was estimated at 37.810 billion riyals (Dh38.1 billion), against 28.352 billion riyals (Dh28.6 billion) for fiscal 2004-2005.

Estimates of expenditures on public projects for fiscal 2005-2006 were set at 11.728 billion riyals (Dh11.8 billion), against the 8.883 billion riyals (Dh8.96 billion) allocated for such projects in fiscal 2004-2005.

This figure represents an increase of 2.845 billion riyals (Dh2.87 billion), or 32 per cent over last year's allocations.

The allocations earmarked for various infrastructural projects in this fiscal year were estimated at 9.982 billion riyals (Dh10.07 billion), compared with 7.751 billion riyals (Dh7.8 billion) last year.

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