Qatar says no to project delays and subsidy cuts
The financial situation in Qatar is "very healthy", as per the country's finance minister, who denied projects would be scaled back
Qatar will not scale back economic development projects or cut state subsidies for fuel and food in response to low oil and natural gas prices, the country's finance minister reportedly said on Monday, 07 September, 2015.
Reuters reported Ali Sherif al-Emadi said the financial situation in Qatar is "very healthy".
"Our budget is still not that far in terms of deficit," Emadi said, adding that state finances would break even with an average oil price of $65 a barrel.
Brent crude is currently priced at around $49.
Emadi's comments set Qatar apart from its fellow GCC members, the UAE and Saudi Arabia; while the UAE has already deregulated fuel prices, Saudi is also working on strategies to curb state spending and fuel subsidies.
A Reuters poll of economists found last month that Doha would run a state budget deficit of only 0.7% of gross domestic product this year, the region's smallest deficit.
"I still think the financial situation is very healthy, and I don't think we'll take any extra measures for these things," he said when asked whether subsidy cuts were possible.
Emadi said no projects will be cancelled to save money.
"We're not going to scale back. Most of our projects are already at the execution stage so we're going to continue with those - we've already put a public plan of what we're actually going to do for the next 10 years," he said, as per the report.
"Whatever we decide, we're going to be more effective and efficient. We're always going to make sure that we're getting value for our money when it comes to these projects."
Qatar is set to spend up to $200bn on infrastructure projects over the next decade, some of which are also in anticipation of 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Sources within the construction industry had previously expressed concerns about the viability of Qatar's projects, after some were suspended, and some others were delayed.
Emadi, however, has assured project development will continue as planned.
"It's going be for us business as usual in terms of these projects," he added.