The Government of Sharjah has announced a AED 22 billion (US$ 5.9 billion) budget for the year 2017, increasing government spending by some 3 percent, according to the emirate’s Central Department of Finance. Meanwhile, according to the statement, government revenue is expected to rise 7 percent compared with 2016.
In common with past years, the 2017 budget places high priority on Sharjah’s economic development, allocating a similar level of funding to 2016 and accounting for 41 percent of the new budget. Sharjah has invested strategically in developing key economic sectors including tourism, healthcare, energy, manufacturing and industry and real estate.
During the past two years, government efforts to target economic growth from new knowledge-led industries have intensified, to include a wide range of new initiatives to encourage entrepreneurs and foreign investors, plus the creation of Sharjah Publishing City, Sharjah Media City Free Zone and the AUS Research, Technology and Innovation (RTI) Park during 2016. In September, Sharjah Investment and Development Authority launched a new ‘Invest in Sharjah’ brand to help drive foreign direct investment in the emirate.
The strength and stability of the Sharjah economy has traditionally come from its well diversified economic base, with very little direct reliance on oil revenues. According to global credit rating agency S&P, Sharjah’s real estate and business services sector accounts for 22 percent of GDP, manufacturing for 17 percent, and wholesale and retail trade for 12 percent Sharjah is expected to add some 3.5 million square feet of new retail space by 2020.
Sharjah government spending on infrastructure will increase by 7 percent during 2017, accounting for 30 percent of this year’s budget. It should be noted that, in addition to the emirate’s own infrastructure budget, the UAE federal government allocates funding for large scale infrastructure projects in Sharjah, typically including main roads, hospitals and schools.
According to Sharjah government’s Human Resources Department, the budget will enable the creation of job opportunities for young citizens in both public and private sectors. Overall, HRD expects the budget to create about 3,500 new jobs for Emiratis, representing another significant increase compared to 2016.
The annual budget continues to fund social, scientific and cultural sectors.
Source: Government of Sharjah, media