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Higher budget allocation reflects strength of UAE economy, Hamdan Bin Rashid says

Dubai: Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and UAE Minister of Finance, has announced that the estimated value of the UAE’s 2014-2016 budget at Dh140 billion, and up by 15 per cent compared to the previous three-year budget, reflects the strength of the UAE’s economy and its ability to continue growing.

Speaking at a press conference held on Saturday Shaikh Hamdan said that in line with the directives of President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan and His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the Ministry of Finance seeks to continue the allocation of funds to the Ministries and autonomous federal agencies in order to implement the strategy of the federal government.

He added that the federal government strategy aims at achieving more welfare and prosperity for Emiratis through enhancement of government services, boosting of security and safety, development of education and upgrading of health care services. Other areas are provision of housing and sponsoring of special categories in line with the directives of wise leadership, to provide decent living conditions for pensioned civil and military personnel.

Shaikh Hamdan said the general budget for the fiscal year 2014, which is the first year budget in the 2014- 2016 budget, stood at about Dh46.2 billion with an increase of Dh1.6 billion compared to the last year, during which the total estimated revenues and expenses were of the same value and without deficit.

He pointed out that the volume of the federal general budget combined for the financial year 2014 stood at Dh52.5 billion. The revenues and expenses include those for ministries and federal authorities.

Shaikh Hamdan said that the Ministry of Finance will continue through the fiscal year to receive applications for additional allocations from all federal agencies. He said the ministry will study and analyse these applications and then submit them to the finance and economic committee.

He stressed that the Ministry’s procedure is in line with the statement of Shaikh Mohammad, during his endorsement of the federal budget for the years 2014-2016, when he said, “[We] will not hesitate to increase when we see a need for it.”

Regarding the volume of projects of the ministries and federal institutions during this year, he said, “We have to agree first that the UAE has gone far in the development of the basic infrastructure after 42 years of the Union, and we are still progressing to complete the infrastructure projects. The government has embarked on updating and replacing the projects in terms of buildings for ministries, federal institutions, schools, hospitals, health centres and other premises.”

Shaikh Hamdan said the total cost of the projects to be implemented by the ministries and federal institutions during 2014- 2016 would be Dh23.8 billion, including Dh10.4 billion for federal ministries, Dh8.2 billion for electricity and water development projects, to be implemented by the Federal Electricity and Water Authority (Fewa) and Dh5.2 billion for the Zayed Housing Programme projects.

He said Dh1.8 billion has been allocated for the implementation of 11 projects of the Ministry of Health (MoH). The projects cover hospitals, clinics and health centres. He noted that the budget for MoH increased to Dh3.7 billion in 2014 compared to Dh3.4 last year.

On the date of issuance of the state public debt law, the Minister of Finance said that the federal government has a special vision to develop the government bonds market with strong liquidity to support the effectiveness of the financial market at the state level. He added that the establishment of a government securities market would be a key tool to finding alternative effective sources of funding that provide funding for major infrastructure projects at the lowest possible cost and at acceptable risk levels.