Dubai unveils budget with slight spending rise

Updated 01 January 2013
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Dubai unveils budget with slight spending rise

DUBAI: Dubai's government unveiled its budget for 2013 yesterday, setting expenditure at 34.12 billion dirhams ($ 9.3 billion) and a deficit at 0.5 percent of gross domestic product.
Expenditure was forecast only slightly up from 33.68 billion dirhams in this year's budget, while revenues were expected to amount to 32.62 billion dirhams, up from 29.91 billion dirhams in 2012, it said in a statement.
The budget forecast the deficit to drop to 1.48 billion dirhams, compared with 3.778 billion dirhams predicted for this year.
The Dubai government said the focus of the budget was "on a prudent fiscal policy that provides the stimuli necessary to economic growth".
The debt-laden Gulf emirate allocated six percent of spending to debt servicing, while 26 percent would be channeled into health, education, housing and social developments.
Sixteen percent of expenditure has been set aside for the completion of infrastructure and development projects.
Abdul Rahman Al-Saleh, the finance department director general, said the budget emphasized a preference to expand expenditure to support the economy but "without sacrificing the strategic objectives... of reducing the deficit".
Government fees would represent 62 percent of revenues, while customs and taxes on foreign banks would account for 23 percent. Dubai does not impose a tax on income.
Net oil income amounted to 12 percent of total revenues, the statement said.
The government did not release figures for actual revenues and expenditure in 2012.
Dubai's economy contracted 2.4 percent in 2009 when it rattled global markets over its debt crisis before receiving a $ 10-billion bailout from Abu Dhabi, its oil-rich partner in the Emirates, and reaching restructuring deals with lenders.
The economy has since made a comeback, growing 2.8 percent in 2010, 3.4 percent in 2011, and 4.1 percent on an annual basis in the first half of this year, as tourism, trade and transport keep expanding.


‘There is no free lunch’, Macron tells tech giant CEOs

Updated 24 May 2018
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‘There is no free lunch’, Macron tells tech giant CEOs

PARIS: President Emmanuel Macron told executives from the world’s biggest technology firms on Wednesday that he wanted innovation to be a driving force for the French economy, but also that they needed to contribute more to society.
The French leader paints himself as a champion of France’s plugged-in youth and wants to transform France into a “startup nation” that draws higher investments into technology and artificial intelligence. He is also spearheading efforts in Europe to have digital companies pay more tax at source.
Macron’s guest-list included Facebook Inc. Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg, IBM’s Virginia Rometty, Intel Corp’s Brian Krzanich, Microsoft Corp’s Satya Nadella and a raft of other big hitters in the corporate world.
“There is no free lunch,” he quipped in English to the executives lined up on the steps of the Elysee Palace for a photo call at a lunch meeting. “So I want from you some commitments.”
As Macron spoke, IBM announced it would hire about 1,400 people in France over the next two years in the fields of blockchain and cloud computing.
Ride-hailing app Uber also said it planned to offer all its European drivers an upgraded version of the health insurance it already provides in France in a drive to attract independent workers and fend off criticism over their treatment.
Macron will hold one-on-one talks with Mark Zuckerberg on tax and data privacy on the sidelines of the Tech For Good summit — a day after the Facebook chief executive faced questions from European Union lawmakers.
Those talks will be frank, an Elysee official said ahead of the meeting. While Macron will be pitching France Inc, he will also push his case for a European Union tax on digital turnover and a tougher fight against both data piracy and fake news.
Zuckerberg on Tuesday sailed through a grilling from EU lawmakers about the social network’s data policies, apologizing to leaders of the European Parliament for a massive data leak but dodging numerous questions.
Macron told the executives that business needed to do more in tackling issues such as inequality and climate change.
“It is not possible just to have free riding on one side, when you make a good business,” the French president said.