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Dubai government slashes budget deficit by 53 percent

(Xinhua)

09:23, December 27, 2011

DUBAI, Dec. 26 (Xinhua) -- The government of the sheikhdom of Dubai has announced its budget for 2012, implementing a 53-percent cut in the deficit compared to 2011, Dubai-based Gulf News reported Monday.

The projected deficit is estimated to reach 1.82 billion Dirham (about 491 million U.S. dollars), or 53 percent lower than in 2011. Local analysts hailed the move as a sign of budget discipline and a proof that the sheikhdom, part of the Gulf Arab state United Arab Emirates (UAE), is serious in reducing its debt.

The new budget forecasts expenditure of 32.25 billion Dirham (8. 79 billion dollars) and 30.43 billion Dirham (8.29 billion dollars) in revenues, according to the budget approved by Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president and prime minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

Against a basic stereotype, Dubai's revenue is not based on oil, but rather from fees, services charges and some small forms of taxes and customs. There is neither an income tax nor value added tax in the sheikhdom. Nine tenths of the UAE oil is located in Abu Dhabi.

According to Giyas Gokkent, Chief Economist and Head of Research at National Bank of Abu Dhabi, the government's budget has never been a problem but the debt at the government-related entities was and remains a challenge. The state-owned holding Dubai World is currently restructuring 23.9 billion dollars of debt.

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