Qatar’s government budget slipped into a deficit of QAR18.5 billion ($5.1 billion) in the first quarter of its 2012/13 fiscal year, preliminary data from the central bank showed on Wednesday.
The fiscal shortfall of the world’s number one exporter of liquefied natural gas was equivalent to 10.7 per cent of gross domestic product in the period, according to the central bank.
It was wider than the QAR2.2 billionn gap, or 1.4 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP), seen in the same quarter of last year.
Because of the timing of revenue flows, Qatar’s budget usually records deficits in the first quarter of its fiscal year, which begins in April, and then bounces back into surplus for the rest of the year.
The Opec member booked a robust QAR54.3 billion surplus in last fiscal year, the biggest since at least 2005/06, despite a surge in spending on public sector wages.
Expenditure fell about 14 perc ent from a year earlier to QAR29.5 billion in April-June, accounting for some 17 per cent of the full-year spending plan, the data showed.
Revenue stood at QAR11 billion, 66 per cent down from the same period a year ago. Oil and gas-related revenue accounts for roughly 70 per cent of Qatar’s overall budget income.
The Gulf Arab state, which pegs its riyal currency to the US dollar, plans to boost spending to QAR178.6 billion in the current fiscal year, including wages, services and projects, but expects a comfortable surplus of QAR27.8 billion.
In September 2011 Qatar, which has avoided social unrest that swept the Arab world last year, raised basic salaries and social benefits for state civilian employees by 60 per cent, while military staff received 50-120 per cent increases.
It plans to spend over 10 per cent of gross domestic product on average on infrastructure in the run-up to hosting the soccer World Cup tournament in 2022.
Category consumers in Qatar logged the largest monthly expenditure on luxury offerings at $5,000 per month, declining to $250 in both Oman and Jordan.
From Gulf Today