His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, attended a discussion at the Dubai Opera yesterday. Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Crown Prince, and Shaikh Maktoum Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance, were present. Shaikh Mohammad on Sunday approved the largest ever UAE Federal Budget for 2019. Image Credit: WAM

Abu Dhabi: Social development and the social benefits programme will be the major beneficiary of the UAE federal budget in 2019 as the government boosts spending for the welfare of its citizens.

The total budget allocation for the year is Dh60.3 billion, up by 17.3 per cent compared to Dh51.4 billion in 2018. The 2019 federal budget is the largest to date in the federal government’s history.

Dh60.3b
total budget allocation for 2019, up 17.3% year-on-year

Social development and the social benefits programme will receive a Dh25.5 billion budget in 2019 representing 42.3 per cent of the total allocation.

Spending on public education and the healthcare sector will also be higher with the budget set at Dh10.3 billion and Dh4.4 billion respectively, officials from the Ministry of Finance said on Monday.

“Ministry of Finance has been keen on developing the federal general budget for the fiscal year 2019 to achieve the vision and direction of the UAE’s wise leadership, who stressed the need to provide a decent life for retired citizens and military personnel, provide the highest security and justice services for both nationals and residents and provide world class educational programmes, as they aid future generations reach a knowledge based economy,” said Younis Haji Al Khoori, undersecretary of the ministry of finance, while addressing the media in Abu Dhabi.

Dh10.3b
spending on public education in 2019

The funds for programmes to guarantee social rights and activate community integration in the Ministry of Community Development amounts to Dh3.2 billion, representing 5.3 per cent of the total budget.

In addition, Dh1.6 billion is earmarked to the Shaikh Zayed housing programme to provide suitable housing for UAE nationals and Dh4.5 billion for the social benefits and pension programme.

The government also allocated Dh22.6 billion or 37.4 per cent of the total budget to the department of government affairs and Dh2.5 billion for the policies programme to support the nation’s relations regionally and globally.

Dh4.4b
budget allocation for the country’s health-care sector

To support infrastructure and economy development, the government will spend Dh1.7 billion or 2.8 per cent of the total budget in 2019.

“The UAE Cabinet’s approval of the 2019 federal budget at Dh60.3 billion, is pragmatic, real GDP growth enhancing and maintains the government’s firm strategy of the focus on fiscal stimulus,” Ehsan Khoman, Head of Mena Research and Strategy at MUFG Bank Ltd told Gulf News. “It is clearly evident that the cyclical upswing through higher oil prices continues to offer relief from the challenges that has characterised the region during the lower for longer oil price environment between mid-2014 to mid-2017.”

Oil prices are currently trending at more than $82 (Dh301.1) per barrel boosting the revenue of oil producing countries.

According to the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Authority (FCSA), per capita income has increased by 12.2 per cent in the UAE during the past five years. The FCSA said that at fixed prices, the per capita income increased from Dh138,700 in 2013 to Dh155,600 in 2017, while the Gross Domestic Product during that same period rose from Dh1.25 trillion to Dh1.42 trillion.

The data also showed that inflation rate decreased from 6.5 per cent in 2015 to 3.6 per cent in 2017.