Dubai plans record spending to revive flagging economy

Dubai (AFP) –


Dubai unveiled a 2020 budget on Sunday projecting record spending of $18.1 billion, up 17 percent on this year, as it seeks to revive its flagging economy.

The Gulf city state expects revenues too to rise sharply next year as it hosts Expo 2020, the global six-month trade fair set to open on October 20.

But it still foresees a deficit for the fourth year in a row of $700 million.

The government is hoping that Expo will draw some 25 million visitors, many of them from abroad, and is projecting a 25 percent increase in revenues to $17.4 billion.

Dubai is the only government in the Gulf not dependent on hydrocarbon revenues, and projects around 94 percent of income to come from non-oil sources.

Dubai is renowned for its skyscrapers, like the world's tallest building Burj Khalifa, but its key property sector has been sliding since 2014.

Last year, growth slowed to 1.94 percent, less half the 2017 figure and the worst in a decade.

It picked up slightly to 2.1 percent in the first half of this year but the government is keen to do more to stimulate consumer spending and the real estate market.