Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, Shailesh Dash and Sudhesh Giriyan Image Credit: Gulf News

Dubai: The Government of Dubai’s Dh47.3 billion budget for 2017 with significant increase in public spending on infrastructure, innovation and social sectors is seen as a growth oriented spending plan by the emirate’s business fraternity.

While the total budget allocation for the year is up by Dh1billion (2.6 per cent) compared to Dh46.1 billion in 2016. Infrastructure spending is up by 27 per cent compared with 2016.

“The budget reflects His Highness’s [Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai] efforts to achieve the happiness of all citizens and residents, and provide the people of the UAE with the highest living standards, while enhancing the economy to ensure sustainable development in the emirate. The UAE’s wise leadership works to diversify the economy, to ensure that only 6 per cent of government income is derived from trading oil,” said Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD & CEO of DEWA.

The budget allocations reflected the extent of the government’s concern for the human resources as the real wealth of the nation and allocated 34 per cent budget towards social development in the fields of health, education, housing, and community development.

The budget aims to provide more than 3,500 new jobs, reflecting the government’s keenness on creating further job opportunities.

“The Dubai budget comes as a great boost to the Dubai Infrastructure industry. With the Government’s aim to create 3500 jobs we see positivity and a good outlook for the coming year,” said Esam R. Al Mazroei, vice-chairman of Bahri & Mazroei Group.

The Government of Dubai continues to support infrastructure projects as well as future projects related to Expo 2020 Dubai. Infrastructure allocation in 2017 budget to accounts for 17 per cent of total government expenditure, reflecting the emirate’s concern for the gradual implementation of Expo 2020 projects.

“The budget for the year 2017 is a progressive one. It is also pleasing to know that Dubai has kept aside a little over one third of the total expenditure of the budget on the social development sector which includes education, housing and health,” said Mahesh Shahdadpuri, CEO of TASC Outsourcing.

Businesses expect the positive government spending outlook will support private sector business and job creation.

“Creation of additional jobs is a good news for the remittance industry in the UAE that is already the third-largest send country for remittances in the world,” said Sudhesh Giriyan, COO, Xpress Money.

“New job creation would lead to any increase in the money transfer and foreign exchange business. It is very promising for our industry and also increases consumer spending. Infrastructure such as development of new communities would give an opportunity for further branch expansion as the economy continues to grow,” said Rajiv Raipancholia, Secretary of Foreign Exchange & Remittance Group.

Government’s commitment to infrastructure spending is expected to trickle down and improve prospects of other key sectors. “The infrastructure spending will go a long way in improving the hospitality, entertainment, trading segments and firmly establish Dubai as an important business hub in the region. Hopefully in the times to come there would be special focus in the budget towards the industrial segment and making Dubai an important manufacturing hub,” said Shailesh Dash, entrepreneur and founder of Al Masah Capital.

Manufacturing industry representatives said the budget 2017 is a source of confidence in the future. “The positive outlook for the infrastructure and related industries reinforces confidence in the market for manufacturers like us. This will have a positive effect on the steel industry in the UAE which is expected to grow by about 15 per cent in 201,” said Bharat Bhatia, Founder & CEO of Conares, a steel manufacturer.

Business leaders said the budget’s focus on providing more jobs is also essential to the economic growth of the city. “More job opportunities lead to a population growth, increased foreign investment and economic stability. Further to creating more jobs, the budget also aims to attract more people to Dubai by improving social services such as health care, academics, tourism and housing,” said Kalpesh Sampat, chief operating officer of SPF, a real estate company.

The tourism industry is positive on the budget’s impact. “With a rise in infrastructure spending targets to boost the emirate’s status, it will be the perfect gateway for rise of more jobs and visitors to the Emirate. This will also be a major boost for start-ups as they will get an access to larger talent pool and a consumer base armed with higher spending capability,” said Geet Bhalla, co-founder and CEO of HolidayME.com.