The UAE pumped more than Dh30 billion ($8 billion) into industry and other productive sectors in 2003 to maintain a sustainable growth in its non-oil economy and ease reliance on volatile oil sales, official statistics showed yesterday.

The funds are part of a record Dh64 billion ($17.4 billion) invested by the public and private sectors last year in oil, manufacturing, farming, services and other sectors.

Investment in the productive sectors, including non-oil industries, agriculture, telecommunications, banking and other services totalled Dh30 billion ($8.17 billion), accounting for nearly 46.8 per cent of the total capital, which exceeded 22 per cent of the gross domestic product, one of the highest ratios in the world.

"This illustrates the growing concern by the UAE public and private sectors to channel funds into productive sectors to expand the non-oil economy and achieve a balance in the national economic structure," the National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD) said in its annual report, citing official figures.

A breakdown showed industry had the lion's share of those investments, receiving a record Dh11.1 billion ($3.02 billion), nearly 37 per cent of the total investment in productive sectors. It also surpassed oil and gas sector which received around Dh8.05 billion ($2.19 billion), mostly in government investment.

The surge in capital over the past five years has sharply boosted the non-oil manufacturing sector to a record Dh38.7 billion ($10.5 billion) in 2003, more than 13 per cent of the GDP and only second to the oil sector.

"The increase in public and private investment in the UAE is a result of a viable business and economic growth… but such investments have also been the driving force in the economic growth, mainly in the non-oil sector,' the report said.

According to the Ministry of Planning, the UAE's non-oil GDP swelled by around 5.7 per cent to Dh199.2 billion ($54.2 billion) in 2003 from Dh188.5 billion ($51.4 billion) in 2002.

Investment in key non-oil sectors 2003

Sector - Dh million
Telecommunications - 11,202
Manufacturing - 11,133
Real estate and business services - 10,272
Electricity and water - 5,327
Restaurants and hotels - 3,734
Construction - 3,282
Agriculture - 2,071

- Source: Ministry of Planning Gulf News graphic