Cabinet approves UAE budget

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Cabinet approves UAE budget

DUBAI — The UAE Cabinet on Tuesday approved the federal budget for 2013 with a zero deficit, as income and expenditures are projected at Dh44.6 billion, higher than 2012 fiscal year estimates.

By Abdul Basit

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Published: Wed 31 Oct 2012, 1:00 AM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 2:50 PM

The meeting was chaired by His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

Lt. General Shaikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister, and Shaikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Presidential Affairs, and other ministers were present at the cabinet meeting.

“[I] chaired a cabinet meeting where we approved the federal budget for 2013 with total spending: Dh44.6 billion and no deficit,” Shaikh Mohammed wrote on his official Twitter account after the announcement of the budget.

Shaikh Mohammed noted that the budget is part of the three-year budget plan for 2011-13 with a total expenditure of Dh133 billion, according to Wam news agency.

Total spending for the next fiscal year is projected to increase by 6.7 per cent to Dh44.6 billion, compared to the 2012 expenditure. Revenue is also estimated to jump by 7.7 per cent to Dh44.6 billion for the 2013 budget, compared to Dh41.4 billion in the current year.

Shaikh Mohammed said that social spending will have the largest share of the budget with 51 per cent, while education will account for 22 per cent, and water and electricity 12 per cent.

“Priorities for the 2013 budget will be: health, education and social benefits for citizens, as well as the improvement of government services,” he also said on Twitter.

Earlier this month, a top official of the Ministry of Finance said that the federal budget gap is expected to be around Dh2 billion this year. The UAE booked a consolidated budget surplus of Dh36.2 billion last year, the ministry said this month. The amount earmarked for the social development sector and social welfare represented 51 per cent of the union budget for 2013, with a total allocation of Dh22.7 billion.

Public education, higher education, health, labour, social affairs, Islamic affairs, culture, youth and community development, the Shaikh Zayed Housing Programme and other social welfare programmes fall under this category.

Education took the largest single share of the budget at Dh9.9 billion, representing 22 per cent of the total allocations. In the effort to complete the implementation of the country’s Education Development Strategy, the education budget has been increased to Dh6 billion to support development initiatives in government schools and to provide the required financial support for promotion of the teaching staff. The governmental affairs category — including defence, interior, justice, foreign affairs and other federal departments — accounted for 41 per cent of the federal budget with total allocations standing at Dh18.3 billion.

The budget allocated to the Ministry of Social Affairs for 2013 is Dh3 billion to ensure the provision of decent living for the beneficiaries of social aid and to ease the burden on Emirati citizens.

Meanwhile, the budget allocated to the Ministry of Health is Dh3.4 billion, which will be used for the provision of comprehensive health services to all citizens. It will also enable the ministry develop and set up medical centres and premises nationwide. The budget will also be used for furthering the Emiratisation of jobs in the medical field.

Infrastructure has the lion’s share in the federal budget for 2013. The Federal Electricity and Water Authority’s budget is Dh5.2 billion to keep pace with rising demands for water and electricity services in Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah. The budget will also fund development projects in this sector, especially in new residential areas.

The cabinet also approved the composite union budget for 2013, which includes the draft general budget as well as the budgets of independent federal authorities with total revenues estimated at Dh55 billion and a surplus of Dh5 million.

During the session, the cabinet endorsed the final accounts of the ended fiscal year of a number of federal institutions such as the General Secretariat of the Council of Ministers, the National Council for Tourism and Antiquities, Emirates Post Holding Group and Emirates General Transport and Services Corporation for 2012.

The Council of Ministers endorsed a number of agreements in the area of nuclear energy, among others, the cooperation agreement between the UAE and Australia, the UAE and Canada for the civil use of nuclear energy. The two agreements aim to boost the cooperation between the UAE with both countries in the areas of peaceful use of nuclear energy. The agreements emphasis the state’s commitment to the safe use of nuclear energy in an orderly and environmental method.

In the field of air transport, the cabinet endorsed the cooperation agreement between the governments of the UAE and the Republic of Panama, which is based on deployment of an unspecified number of national carriers between the two countries, and operation of any number of weekly flights between them without any restrictions.

The cabinet also approved the agreement on regulating air transport services between the UAE government and the European Union. The agreement will promote trade and tourism between the UAE and European Union, open new markets, develop commercial and tourist traffic between the two parties. It will contribute to creation of an area of “Euro-Mediterranean Aviation” between the two sides on the basis of common rules beside the liberalisation of air transport markets.

In the area of customs, the cabinet ratified the agreement on cooperation and mutual administrative assistance in customs matters between the UAE and the Republic of Korea, as well as the UAE and the Republic of Argentina. The two agreements aim to facilitate customs procedures between the UAE and both Korea and Argentina. They are also aimed at raising efficiency of customs through exchange of information, expertise and visits.

The Council of Ministers also endorsed the agreement for establishing the World Institute for Green Growth signed by the UAE in Rio de Janeiro, in addition to other countries in order to support the sustainable development. It also approved the agreement on transfer of the International Institute for green growth to an international organisation.

The cabinet endorsed the Statute of the Centre of the Gulf Cooperation Council for the Arab States for the Emergency Management, which aims to strengthen capacity, efforts and coordination of the GCC in the field of emergency management.

It also ratified the Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons between the UAE and both the UK and Northern Ireland. The deal comes in line with the judicial and legal cooperation with the two countries. It complements the extradition agreements signed by the parties.

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