17 Feb 2020 00:00:00 AM Breaking News
UAE announces recovery of two new coronavirus patientsPanasonic CEO vows to ‘eradicate’ money-losing businessesEmirates to carry over 6,500 passengers to Dubai for Amway’s largest leadership gatheringTrading of Emirates NBD Bank’s rights issue to take place this NovemberSelling pressure on Emaar drags DFM 1.3% lowerEmirates NBD hires Standard Chartered's Patrick Sullivan as CFOWorld Bank chief asks India to reform financial sectorEarly settlement charges on home loans in UAE reducedBreast Cancer Awareness: How to do a self-exam and why it is a mustDFM surges 4.8 percentageas Emirates NBD hikes foreign stakes limitMcDonald’s enlists Alexa and Google to help with its hiring84-year-old Indian man goes skydiving in DubaiUAE in Space: Have questions for Hazza on the ISS?Indian minister seeks direct flight between Bhubaneswar and DubaiExpo 2020 dome now complete, marking new milestone for UAEEmirati astronaut Hazza Al Mansouri undergoes final test as lift-off nearsSoftBank triples net profit in Q1Microsoft 'listens' to conversations, but only with permissionChina warns India of ‘reverse sanctions’ if Huawei is blockedStocks, oil edge higher as trade-war panic easesTens of thousands losing jobs as India's auto crisis deepensSerena again tops Forbes list of highest-paid sports womenDubai equity traders get a reason to cash out ahead of holidaysRight time to invest? UAE equities attractive on low valuations, positive indicatorsIndian rupee hits 19.21 vs UAE dirhamHumid and dusty weather in UAE until Eid weekendHeathrow airport strike: Emirates issues travel advisoryEid Al Adha 2019: Four-day holiday in UAEEid Al Adha to be celebrated on August 11 in UAENissan, Renault eye restructuring for Fiat merger: report Nissan controls 15 per cent and has no voting rights in Renault

Maintaining financial sustainability of Dubai is top priority: Department of Finance head

No-fee-rise decision has no significant impact on Dubai as economy is diversified

Dubai: There's no planned increase in government fees in Dubai as the emirate's public budget has seen continuous improvements in the past five years, a senior official said on Saturday.

Abdulrahman Saleh Al Saleh, Director General of the Government of Dubai's Department of Finance (DoF), said that there is no intention to raise fees in the Emirate.

He added that the decision, taken in March 2018, did not have a significant financial impact on Dubai as it has a diversified source of revenue.

Abdulrahman Saleh Al Saleh, Director General of the Government of Dubai's Department of Finance (DoF), said that the continuous improvement in the performance of Dubai’s public budget over the last five years has been driven by Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s directives, to maintain the sustainability of Dubai’s financial system, stimulate greater entrepreneurship and investment through economic stimulus measures and further enhance Dubai’s competitiveness as a global investment hub.

Expo 2020 infrastructure projects

Al Saleh said that capital expenditure on infrastructure projects in Dubai, especially projects related to Expo 2020, top the priorities of the public budget — as part of ensuring that key projects are completed as per schedule.

The budget surplus generated over the last few years through prudent financial policies was used to fund these projects as per the objectives of Dubai Plan 2021, while Expo 2020-related projects will be totaling Dh30 billion by 2021.

Al Saleh was speaking at a 'Meet the CEO' event organised by the Government of Dubai Media Office (GDMO) on Saturday.

'Meet the CEO' is a regular series of press events organised by GDMO for leaders of prominent Dubai organisations. Both local and international media attended the event.

The emirate’s public debt to GDP ratio was below 27.9 per cent while the debt-service coverage ratio was only five per cent of the general budget.

Financing options

Al Saleh said that Dubai is able to service all its sovereign debts according to schedule. He also said that when needed, DoF explores various other financing options before tapping the debt market to fund infrastructure projects.

Such options include bonds, sukuk, export guarantee and securitisation.

Al Saleh noted that Dubai approaches the debt market only to finance infrastructure projects and not for operational expenditures.

Government fees: No increase

The head of DoF said that there is no intention to increase government fees since a decision to freeze the fees was issued in March 2018, adding that the decision did not have a significant financial impact on Dubai as it has diverse sources of revenue.

He stressed that Dubai is capable of meeting all its financial commitments without increasing fees.

Al Saleh further said that the Government of Dubai reduced some government fees in June 2018 to support the business sector. This reduction has not had any noticeable impact on the performance of the general budget.

He also said that the Department is continuing to work on the Dubai Government Service Costing Program, ‘Almas’, launched in October 2018, which seeks to enhance transparency and accuracy in costing government fees.

Draft cost model

He further said that the department is working on a draft cost model for each government entity and a centralised formula for government fees.

The first phase of this project includes 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.

Al Saleh said that DoF has completed the general policy pertaining to the relationship between public and private sectors, related to Law No. (22) of 2015 pertaining to public-private partnerships. It has also commenced work on a new framework for public-private partnerships and launched many innovative projects including Dubai Municipality’s Waste-to-Energy project in partnership with a private company, a 30-year project that is set to kick off in 2020. He also said that the Department will host a conference on public-private partnership in the first half of 2020.

Al Saleh further said that he expects the private sector to partner with the government on multi-billion joint projects over the next few years. DoF is currently working with various government entities to implement projects worth AED4 billion in sectors such as education, healthcare and energy. These include the AED3.5 billion Dubai Municipality’s Waste-to-Energy project.

The department will execute a number of initiatives in the period leading to 2021 as part of Dubai’s strategic plan for partnerships with the private sector. Al Saleh said the department is keen to encourage the private sector to get involved in projects to promote investments and improve the competitiveness of public-private sector joint projects.