quter spending Last year, Qatar ran an estimated budget deficit of more than $12 billion, its first in 15 years. The state budget for 2017 was approved with a deficit of $7.7 billion. — Reuters Last year, Qatar ran an estimated budget deficit of more than $12 billion, its first in 15 years. The state budget for 2017 was approved with a deficit of $7.7 billion. — Reuters HIGH-SPENDING World Cup 2022 hosts Qatar are splurging almost $500 million every week on major infrastructure projects for football’s biggest touament, the country’s finance minister said.

That eye-watering level of spending could continue until 2021, Ali Shareef Al-Emadi said. “We are spending close to $500 million per week on capital projects,” he told joualists. “And this will carry on for the next three to four years to achieve our goal and objective of really getting the country ready for 2022.” More than $200 billion (187b euros) will be spent in total by the emirate in preparation for 2022. Emadi said this figure covered not only stadiums but huge and costly projects such as roads, a new airport and hospitals. “Ninety percent of the 2022 contracts have already been awarded,” added Emadi. “That doesn’t mean the stadiums only, we are talking about highways, rail, ports, airports, those are really underway, even hospitals and everything.” He added: “We are really giving ourselves a good chance of delivering things on time and we don’t want to get in a place that we start painting while people are coming to the country.” Asked if this would make Qatar’s touament the most expensive World Cup ever, the minister said no. “We are putting $200 billion in terms of infrastructure… If you look at stand alone, the World Cup, no it is not.” Emadi, who was speaking to a group of inteational joualists on a govement-invited press trip, said the money for World Cup projects had been protected from cuts despite Qatar experiencing budget constraints in recent times because of energy price fluctuations. Last year, Qatar ran an estimated budget deficit of more than $12 billion, its first in 15 years. The state budget for 2017 was approved with a deficit of $7.7 billion. — AFP