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Dubai passes first deficit-free budget since financial crisis

UAE. Dubai announced Saturday adoption of a balanced budget for 2015, the first time there has been no shortfall since the global financial crisis.

Spending and revenues are both projected at 41 billion dirhams ($11.2 billion), according to an official statement cited by the official WAM news agency.

Spending is set at 9.0 percent higher, while revenues are projected to be up 11 percent.

Dubai is one of the seven emirates in the United Arab Emirates. Its non-oil economy has posted budget deficits since 2009 after being hit hard by the global financial crisis and debt problems before being bailed out by fellow emirate Abu Dhabi.

The director of Dubai’s finance department, Abdulrahman al-Saleh, said six percent of spending, or $670 million, is tagged for servicing an estimated some $80 billion in debt.

About 37 percent of spending is allocated for wages and salaries and another 44 percent for administrative and public expenditures, capital spending, grants and subsidies, Saleh said.

The remaining 13 percent is for infrastructure projects, he said.

Tax revenue is projected to rise 12 percent to make up 21 percent of total revenues.

Unlike other Gulf states and sister emirate Abu Dhabi, oil income is projected to contribute only 4.0 percent of Dubai’s revenues, Saleh said.

Dubai’s economy depends on real estate, tourism and hospitality.

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INTERNATIONAL. The explanation, while difficult to prove, may revolve around control of oil and gas in the Middle East and the weakening of Russia, Iran and Syria by flooding the market.

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