UAE cabinet approves Dh201 billion federal budget until 2021

By Rajive Singh

DUBAI 8 November 2017: The UAE Cabinet has approved a Dh201.1 billion federal budget for the years 2018-2021.

Of this Dh51.4 billion is for the year 2018, with a zero deficit.

This came during the extraordinary session held at the Sharjah International Book Fair on Tuesday. ‎His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, asserted that the Federal Government, led by the President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, continues to achieve the happiness of its people and to ensure a secure and a decent life for them.

His Highness said, “All strategies and budget plans are invested in the service of the UAE society in the first place, and we will spare no efforts in providing all the requirements for our people’s happiness and well-being. The UAE people are our most valuable asset.”

The Cabinet adopted during its session the general federal budget for the fiscal year 2018 with estimated revenues of AED51,388,000,000 and an estimated expenditure of AED51,388,000,000 with zero deficit, in line with Government’s objective to improve the efficiency of financial planning and its implementation to achieve the UAE Vision 2021.

The budget focused primarily on utilising resources to achieve the highest degree of prosperity and well-being of the citizens and residents as a priority, underlining education, healthcare and community wellbeing as key pillars for the development of the society.

The federal budget for the 2018 fiscal year was distributed across various sectors. The ‎social development and social benefits sector saw AED26.3 billion ‎earmarked for social development programmes, that is 43.5 percent of the total budget, of which ‎AED10.4 billion were allocated for general education and higher education totaling 17.1 percent of ‎the overall budget, and AED4.5 billion allocated to the health sector, 7.4 percent of the total ‎budget. ‎ The government affairs sector was allocated AED22.1 billion, 36.5 percent of the total budget. ‎A total of AED3.5 billion was assigned to federal projects implemented by federal agencies.‎ The Ministry of Finance worked in coordination with all ministries and federal entities to ensure that their development plans and programmes are by the federal financial strategy, and with the objectives of the Government of the Future.

The budget approval came during the first extraordinary session of the Cabinet, held after the recent restructuring of the government, in the presence of H.H. Lt. General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior, and H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs.

During its session, the Cabinet also adopted the restructuring of the Ministerial Council for Development, under the chairmanship of H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

On the sidelines of the meeting, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid toured the Sharjah International Book Fair, with H.H. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of Sharjah.

During the tour, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid said that “The UAE invests in culture and science because it understands that culture is a driver for progress and prosperity.”

His Highness also praised the vision and initiatives of H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, who made culture and knowledge an Emirati way of life. “It makes me proud to be among the crowd of one of the largest and most important book fairs in the world, that gives the UAE people an unprecedented access the world and its knowledge, its history and its future.”

“The UAE Government has recently introduced new items to its mandate to be at the forefront of knowledge and advanced sciences and to equip our younger generation with the needed tools to lead the UAE to the Centennial 2071,” concluded His Highness.

The Cabinet also adopted Federal Decree-Law No. 08 of 2017 on Value Added Tax to be implemented at the beginning of January 2018, as well as a number of resolutions and initiatives on the agenda and approved a number of international treaties.