The emirate has set a budget of AED29.1bn ($7.9bn) for 2020, with the majority of investment geared towards infrastructure and economic development.
The budget, announced by Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, the ruler of Sharjah, marked a 2% increase compared to 2019.
A third (33%) of the budget has been allocated to infrastructure development in the emirate, up 10% on the previous year. Projects will include the improvement of road networks and tunnels.
Meanwhile, 36% has been set aside for economic development, with an increased focus on spurring growth.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Saud Al Qasimi, chairman of the Sharjah Finance Department, said: “The aim is to ensure financial stability and improve the emirate's competitiveness by providing a business-friendly environment for local and international investors, and help in the growth of the tourism sector across various fields, including cultural, historical, therapeutic, and recreational tourism.
“This is coupled with unrelenting efforts to keep macroeconomic performance indicators in line with international standards, including controlling inflation rates and rationalising government spending.”
Almost a quarter (24%) of the budget has been earmarked for social development and supporting scientific, cultural and heritage services in order to stimulate creativity, innovation, research, and development.
In 2019, Sharjah Investment and Development Authority unveiled plans to build a AED2bn ($544m) sustainable city, which will be powered by solar panels and will recycle 100% of its waste. The city is expected to built by 2021.
Separately, a report by PwC estimated virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technology could contribute over $4bn to the UAE economy by 2030.
The contribution of VR is expected to reach $1.3bn by 2030, while the contribution of AR is expected to grow to nearly $3bn, as businesses begin to see the benefits the technology can provide, including improved training, reduction of risk and quicker product design and delivery.
“VR and AR can reduce costs and boost efficiency in all kinds of ways, from improving the productivity of warehouse workers with AR glasses that improve picking and packing, to providing immersive information for engineers and technicians in the field,” the report said.
Wider adoption of AR and VR technologies is expected to create over 40,000 jobs in the UAE.
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