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UAE Cabinet confirms 2017 and five-year budget

UAE Cabinet confirms 2017 and five-year budget

The budget includes Dhs2bn to support government innovation through the establishment of the Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Fund to Finance Innovation

The UAE Cabinet has adopted a general federal budget of Dhs248bn ($67.5bn) for 2017 to 2021 and a budget of Dhs48.7bn ($13.25bn) for next year.

The 2017 budget is only a minor increase on the Dhs48.65bn allocated for 2016, suggesting purse strings were still being tightened due to low oil prices.

The UAE is expected to post a consolidated fiscal deficit of 3.86 per cent of GDP this year, according to the IMF.

In the announcement published on WAM, the government claimed to be the first Arab country to prepare a periodic budget for five years and said it would continue to do so in the coming decades to improve social and smart services.

HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai said the country aims to provide all the means and capabilities to meet the requirements of its future vision and become one of the best in the world in various sectors.

“Utilising the financial resources to achieve the highest degree of prosperity and welfare of the citizens and residents is a priority, underlining education, health and community welfare as key pillars for the development of the society,” he said.

Social service sectors will receive more than half of the 2017 budget including 20.5 per cent or Dhs10.2bn to healthcare, 8.6 per cent or Dhs4.2bn to protection of society, 8.2 per cent or Dhs4bn to pensions, 6.6 per cent or Dhs3.2bn to community development and 3.3 per cent or Dhs1.6bn to housing.

A further 42 per cent or Dhs20.7bn has been allocated to government affairs including Dhs3.3bn to federal projects. Of this, Dhs891m is allocated to federal ministries, Dhs771m to power and electricity projects, Dhs1.4bn to the Sheikh Zayed Housing programme and Dhs13.5m to the Ministry of Education.

The country will also allocate Dhs215m to police and civil defence centres, headquarters of naturalisation and residence and scientific laboratories.

On top of the usual items, the 2017 budget includes Dhs2bn to support government innovation through the establishment of the Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Fund to Finance Innovation.

This will provide financing for innovators and incubation support to projects that support the national strategy for innovation and achieving the goals of Vision 2021.

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