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Qatar gov’t revenue at record high, spending falls 6.6%

THE LEVANT IN COLLABORATION WITH MIDDLE EAST BUSINESS – Qatar’s government spending fell 6.6 percent from a year ago to QR38.8 billion ($10.7 billion) in the first quarter of the current fiscal year, while revenue soared to a record high, central bank data has showed.

The central bank did not give a reason for the drop in spending, but work on some large infrastructure projects in the country has been slowed or divided into phases to reduce the risk of waste or overcapacity.

The budget surplus in April-June was QR79.0 billion, compared with a deficit of QR24.4 billion a year earlier, the data showed. The surplus was equivalent to 41.7 percent of gross domestic product.

Revenue surged to QR117.8 billion in the first quarter, nearly the same amount as the state collected in the whole first half of last year, from a mere QR17.1 billion a year ago.

The revenue increase seemed at least partly due to the fact that state energy giant Qatar Petroleum started transferring its entire financial surplus to the government in 2013.

Previously, a part went to the government as investment income, part was retained on the company’s balance sheet, and part was used to provide fresh capital to the Qatar Investment Authority.

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