UAE Approves Four-Year Federal Budget Focused on Social Spending

Published 12 Oct,2021 via Bloomberg Markets - The United Arab Emirates approved its federal budget to 2026 and focused most of next year’s spending on social benefits and development.

The Gulf country approved a total of 58.9 billion dirhams ($16 billion) of spending in 2022, nearly the same as last year. Most of the spending is going to development and social benefits, according to the state-run WAM news agency. Nearly 16% will go to higher education, 6% to social affairs, 8.4% to the health sector and 3.8% to infrastructure and economic resources.

The total budget allocation for 2022-2026 is 290 billion dirhams. The decisions came during a cabinet session held at Expo2020, the $7 billion global exhibition that opened last month in Dubai.

The UAE has said it begun winding down an economic support program that was launched in response to the coronavirus pandemic, citing signs of gradual recovery. The country has one of the world’s fasted vaccination campaigns and has so far administered 20.5 million doses. Daily virus cases have remained under 200 for weeks.

The country sold $4 billion in bonds last week, its first ever federal dollar notes. Its debt is rated by Moody’s Investors Service at Aa2, the third-highest investment grade, and one step lower at AA- by Fitch Ratings. The federation is comprised of Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Fujairah and Ras Al Khaimah.

During its session, the government also formed new federal councils including one for the general budget and taxes and another for infrastructure and housing.

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