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Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Dubai reveals budget deficit

An understated press conference to announce details of the 2009 budget should have been a run-of-the-mill event. But in the context of Dubai’s infamously opaque finances, Saturday’s statements were revolutionary.

Never before had the Dubai government opened up its books to this extent. Saturday provided another example of the government’s transparency drive, which is likely to develop further if the emirate is to receive a sovereign rating as planned this year.

Nasser Al Shaikh, director-general of the Dubai government’s finance department, outlined details of a Dh4.2bn ($1.2bn) deficit – the emirate’s first acknowledged budget deficit at 1.3 per cent of gross domestic product.