Top executives say the finance document is certainly a confidence booster
Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, chairman of DP World, said Dubai is again underlining the growth of its economy by adopting the government sector’s no-deficit budget for 2015.
“This budget reflects the vision of His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, which aims to stimulate the economy by increasing general expenditure,” he said.
Bin Sulayem, who is also executive chairman of Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation, said the budget is reducing the deficit by increasing revenues through the ongoing expansion of economic activity and through the resulting steady increase in governmental returns, which encourage investment and growth.
“According to the 2015 budget, Dubai is able to pursue its ambitious economic programme positioning itself as a leading international and regional economic and trade hub,” he added.
Bin Sulayem also noted that the proceeds of customs-related revenue through services and other customs fees would support the budget. He backed the development of innovation to help achieve the vision of Dubai’s leadership which will help the economy rise further in global rankings.
Noor Bank’s chief executive Hussain Al Qemzi said Dubai’s budget for 2015 is a forward-looking and inclusive one that will continue to spur economic growth and make the emirate more competitive, bolstering its leading status as an attractive business and foreign investment destination.
“With 13 per cent of government spending allocated to infrastructure projects, new budget will ensure sustained macroeconomic growth and benefit banking and priority sectors. Also, allocating 35per cent of government expenditure to social development — health, education, housing and community — confirms that the zero-deficit Dh3.6 billion surplus Dubai budget 2015 is a balanced and commendable one,” Al Qemzi said.
Hamad Buamim, president and chief executive of Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, welcomes the budget and said Dh3.6 billion operating surplus points to efficient and effective leadership of the emirate and substantiates
Dubai’s strong economic performance. Standing at Dh41 billion, the budget is the largest since the global financial crisis and an increase of nine per cent on 2014.
“For Dubai’s business community, there are a number of benefits that will come from the budget’s continued economic stimulus. A total of 2,530 jobs will be created by the budget in key economic sectors, which is good news for the private sector by encouraging more healthy competition, and for the economy as a whole,” he said.
Buamim said another benefit the private sector will feel is from continued government support for infrastructure projects. “This year’s budget has allocated 13 per cent to infrastructure spending, which not only provides a better business environment but also assists the development of investment incentives that in turn contributes to increased global competitiveness.
“In addition, the budget also highlights the importance of security, justice and safety, which are vital issues for investors. With 22 per cent of the budget allocated to these important areas, government support and commitment to protecting investors’ assets and providing a safe and stable environment for citizens is highlighted,” he added.
Hani Al Hamli, secretary general of the Dubai Economic Council, said the 2015 budget would pave the way towards a global economy for Dubai. “The Dh41 billion zero-deficit budget is another milestone in the evolution of the economic march of the emirate,” he said.
Al Hamli said the new budget achieved both aims of growth and development of the emirate. He also stressed that the size and structure of spending reflects the size of the ambition carried by Shaikh Mohammed in promoting economic growth rates of the emirate and consolidating its position on the global competitiveness map.
He said that the principles underlying the new budget will pave the ground for the implementation of the directives of Dubai Plan 2021, including all major development programmes as well as initiatives launched by the government during the past two years, which aims to strengthen Dubai’s position regionally and globally.
Hussain Sajwani, chairman of Damac Properties, said the budget is a clear signal that Dubai’s fundamentals remain strong and that the city is well set for growth in the coming years. “We welcome the investment in infrastructure development and social improvements which will help to create more jobs and reinvigorate economic growth. Investment in these areas will support further local and foreign investment in the Dubai real estate market. As Dubai grows in the coming years, it will further position itself as one of the leading cities in the world, thanks to the visionary leadership of Shaikh Mohammed,” he said.
Rahail Aslam, chief executive of Select Group, said the first budget surplus in six years is a confidence booster after a difficult economic period globally and a testament to Dubai’s prudent fiscal policies. “Dubai’s dependence on oil revenues was always marginal and has dropped further to four per cent, making it even less reliant on the currently volatile sector,” he said.
He said most of Dubai’s revenues have a diverse base through tourism, real estate, trade and retail. Now with significant infrastructure spend, future revenues and long-term growth in these sectors will be further bolstered.
“The commitment of 35 per cent to the social sector is equally as important to ensure housing, healthcare and education is continuously improving. This step compliments Dubai’s strategy for stability and a quality lifestyle for the residents which will also be reflected favourably on the happiness index,” Aslam said.
Firoz Merchant, founder and chairman of Pure Gold Jewellers, welcomed the budget and said strong focus on creating jobs will directly benefit the economy. “I am happy to see the focus on improving health and social care services for residents of the country in this year’s budget. It is very necessary to concentrate the budget on human development, as people are the cornerstone of every society. There is also a strong focus on creating job opportunities which will directly benefit the economy and create a more sustainable environment,” he said.
Rizwan Sajan, founder and chairman of Danube Group, said the budget 2015 is a reflection of a prudent fiscal policy essential for the economic growth of the emirate. “The focus on the uplift of the social sector will help foster a productive workforce contributing to global competitiveness. The government’s decision to invest a prime share into health, education, housing and community development projects is a clear indication that citizens living in the UAE represent a top priority in the national agenda,” he said.
“Essentially, the construction and real estate sector will oversee a boost with the increase in spend on the same, thereby leveraging better growth opportunities for our business. The balanced budget will not only create more jobs and stimulate the economic growth, but will also help the citizens accomplish their goals,” Sajan added.
Victor King, chief executive of Absolute Communications and Strategies, said Dubai has constantly shown resilience and growth in the most unprecedented economic times globally.
“2014 proved it to the world that Dubai’s economy and leadership have the capability to drive economic growth even through difficult times. With the winning of the World Expo 2020 bid to breaking an economic world record, Dubai will continue to grow at a similar pace and better in 2015 and years to come,” he said.
ITL Group chairman Ram Buxani said the budget is inspiring and aspiring. “It concentrates on innovative improvements in infrastructure, making Dubai the envy of many nations, attracting tourism and also making it a hub for worldwide corporates. I feel giant countries in the neighbourhood need to learn from Dubai as to how to plan finances.”
Manish Bakshi, managing director of BenQ Middle East and Africa, said the no-deficit budget has a strong focus on improving the social services sector to provide better health services and security to Dubai residents. “It is a well-planned budget which will contribute to the development of the emirate’s economic growth, with plans to create more jobs and investment in infrastructure.”
Anthony Peter, director of communications and operations division at Panasonic Marketing Middle East & Africa, said the no-deficit budget would be Dubai’s first in the six years since the global financial crisis. “The announcement of this balanced budget in 2015, in spite of an increase in spending, prudently focuses on creating more trade opportunities that will boost the economy. The thrust on human capital and social services definitely gives a solid ‘feel-good’ motivational factor and provides good opportunity for sustainable growth,” he said.
Walid Abdulmoti, marketing manager, Epson Middle East, said the new budget is exactly what is required to boost the economy. “With its focus on creating more employment and providing better measures to safeguard the safety and security of all residents, the budget will further strengthen investor confidence and will benefit all sectors of the economy.”
Harmeek Singh, owner and founder, Plan b Group, said retail, trade and tourism are some of the keywords that Dubai is rightfully known for, making real estate an obvious byproduct by default.
“Considering that expectations from oil revenue have been reduced by one per cent and now 96 per cent of revenues are sought from retail, tourism and real estate, the 2015 budget is a reflection of Dubai’s approach of balance and diversity,” he said.
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