The Federal National Council has criticised the government for its failure to give official recognition and approval to the national anthem. Although it is 29 years since the UAE Federation was formed, the national anthem which was prepared by the Ministry of Education and Youth still awaits official approval in accordance with the Constitution.

Article 5 of the Constitution stipulates that a national anthem must be prepared and approved by the government to fulfil its constitutional obligation. The issue was raised by councilman Sultan bin Salem bin Khamis Al Suwaidi of Sharjah.

In a question addressed to Saeed Khalfan Al Ghaith, Minister of Cabinet Affairs, he said, "Article 5 of the Constitution, stipulating a federal national anthem, is still in suspension, which is an outright constitutional violation. It is regrettable to note that the anthem prepared and approved by the Ministry of Education is still not recognised by the government under the Constitution."

Al Suwaidi, during a debate on the issue on Tuesday, said lack of approval means that technically the UAE has no national anthem. He asked the minister to explain why the present non-official anthem prepared by Ministry of Education has not been formally recognised.

The minister replied, "What I can say is that the existing anthem has been prepared and approved by the Ministry of Education and is in use. But it has not been approved by the government."

Meanwhile, Minister of State for Financial and Industrial Affairs, Dr Mohammed Khalfan bin Kharbash, briefed the FNC on the ministry's policies regarding annual budgets and financial development.

The minister said the ministry assures the availability of adequate funds to provide basic amenities, projects and investment. Kharbash, referring to annual budgets, said, "The ministry has improved its efficiency in preparing and presenting. Now the budget is presented two months earlier than two years ago. The presentation period of the budget has been put forward from May or July to March."

The minister said the next budget will be public welfare-oriented, with greater focus on education, health, agriculture, manpower and finance. "The budget will also focus on strategic and financial projects under the supervision of the Finance Ministry," he said.