The United Arab Emirates approved a federal budget of Dhs46 billion ($12.5 billion) for 2014, half of which will go for development and social benefits, Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum said on Sunday.
The projected federal spending of the world’s No. 3 crude oil exporter is slightly higher than the Dhs44.6 billion originally pencilled in for 2013.
“I requested all the ministers to efficiently spend their budgets in the interest of the citizens’ happiness and welfare,” Sheikh Mohammed, who is also Dubai’s ruler, wrote on his official Twitter account.
He did not provide a figure for revenue in the budget, which was approved as a part of a three-year federal spending plan of Dhs140 billion for 2014-2016.
By comparison, the 2011-2013 budget had provided for total expenditure of Dhs133 billion.
The UAE federal budget accounts for only around 14 per cent of overall fiscal spending in the UAE. The seven individual emirates, mainly oil-producing Abu Dhabi, make up the rest.
Sheikh Mohammed said 21 per cent of the 2014 budget, which would be nearly Dhs9.7 billion, had been allocated to education.
Other allocations included Dhs3.7 billion to health, Dhs1.4 billion for housing programmes, Dhs18.5 billion for other government services and Dhs400 million for the marriage fund, “all subject to increase when necessary”, he added.
On an aggregate basis, the UAE and the emirates together are expected to run a budget surplus of 6.9 per cent of gross domestic product this year and 6.6 per cent in 2014, a Reuters poll of analysts showed in September.
The OPEC member, which pegs the dirham to the U.S. dollar, does not publish its consolidated fiscal data on a regular basis.
The International Monetary Fund recently estimated the UAE’s consolidated government spending in 2012 at a record Dhs306.8 billion, citing finance ministry figures.
Last year’s surplus was Dhs188.1 billion, or 13.3 per cent of GDP, the highest level since 2008, the Fund said.