ROLE TO PLAY

Dubai 2020 | FINANCE | INTERVIEW

“DOF oversees the preparation and development of financial resources, and verifies the collection and provision of general revenues, in addition to supervising government bank accounts."

Abdulrahman Saleh Al Saleh
BIOGRAPHY

The Director General of Dubai's DOF since 2009, Abdulrahman Saleh Al Saleh also chairs the board of directors of the Dubai Financial Support Fund and is a member of the Executive Council and the Strategic Affairs Council of Dubai. He is also a member of the board of Dubai's Supreme Fiscal Policy Committee, Dubai World, the Federal Tax Authority, as well as the Emirates National Oil Company (ENOC). In 2018, he was appointed vice chairman of the board of directors of the UAE Central Bank. A member of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants in the UK, he also holds an MBA from the American University of Sharjah.

How do you evaluate the progress of the Almas program and draft-costing model? What is the importance of such initiatives for public sector efficiency?
DOF continues to work on the government's Service Costing Program, 'Almas,' which was launched in October 2018 and seeks to enhance transparency and accuracy in government fees. We are working on a draft cost model for each government entity and a centralized formula for government fees. The first phase of this project includes the collection of data and the calculation of the cost of 1,400 government services, including the Roads and Transport Authority, Dubai Customs, Dubai Municipality, Dubai Police, and the Dubai Economic Department. At a later stage, the project will cover 5,500 services provided by 23 government revenue-generating entities.

What is the intended impact of the new PPP framework, and what is DOF's role in enabling PPPs?
The framework has issued an Emirate-wide PPP policy and resulted in the establishment of a PPP unit within DOF that aims to consolidate the Dubai government's efforts in the PPP ecosystem. In addition, the framework also dictates the operating guidelines based on international best practices across the PPP procurement lifecycle and the formulation of a uniform budgeting approach to managing PPP liabilities and aggregate fiscal exposure. DOF also provides guidelines and toolkits to the contracting authorities, enabling a standardized process throughout the PPP procurement lifecycle. We provide final approval of the business case for projects as defined in the PPP Law No. 22 2015 and support the relevant contracting authorities during the phases of project identification, preparation, procurement, contract negotiations and awarding, execution, and monitoring and evaluation.

With a budget surplus in the last few years, what is the significance of infrastructure, particularly Expo 2020-related projects, for the government's budget?
The capital expenditure on infrastructure projects in Dubai, especially projects related to Expo 2020, top the priorities of the public budget as part of ensuring that key projects are completed as per schedule. The budget surplus generated over the last few years through prudent financial policies was used to fund these projects as per the objectives of Dubai Plan 2021, while Expo 2020-related projects will total AED30 billion.

Can you elaborate on the DOF's contributions and leadership role in ensuring financial stability and stimulating economic growth?
Being responsible for the development of the government's general annual budget and its execution, in cooperation with all relevant local government entities, the DOF provides liquidity, including transferring sanctioned budgetary allocations to all relevant government entities. It also oversees the preparation and development of financial resources and verifies the collection and provision of general revenues, while also supervising government bank accounts. Our continuous improvement of Dubai's public budget has been driven by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum's directives to maintain the sustainability of Dubai's financial system, stimulate greater entrepreneurship and investment through economic stimulus measures, and further enhance Dubai's competitiveness as a global investment hub.

A series of recent initiatives, such as the freelance visa scheme, have centered on boosting entrepreneurship and attracting investment. What is your department doing to facilitate these efforts?
We work in accordance with the directives of HH Sheikh Mohammed to implement a range of economic and financial incentives and facilities aimed at reducing the cost of conducting business, supporting the registered companies in the Emirate, and attracting new investments. The government focus is on simplifying the procedures of conducting business and reducing the costs for companies by harnessing all possible resources in order to facilitate these economic accomplishments.