x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Budget 'needed speedy passage'

A heated debate erupts over why the FNC has not seen the federal 2012 budget.

ABU DHABI // The Cabinet passed the 2012 federal budget without consulting the FNC because it was worried too much debate would delay its passage, the minister of state said yesterday.

FNC member Dr Abdul Rahim Al Shaheen (RAK) asked for the second time at yesterday's session why the council had yet to see this year's federal budget, which was supposed to be presented in October.

In a heated discussion with Dr Anwar Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Minister of State for FNC Affairs and head of the National Election Committee, Dr Al Shaheen said he had not received a response in the three weeks since the last session, when he first posed the question.

"I ask Dr Gargash to give us reasons why the bill has not been passed to the council," he said. "The Government is always pointing out the importance of the council and so on, yet it has not showed us the draft on the budgets."

Dr Gargash said the Cabinet, fearing the budget would be delayed, decided to pass it without referring it to the council.

Dr Al Shaheen said that violated the constitution.

"In the beginning, the Government's first role is to cooperate," Dr Gargash responded. "We don't want to begin the year with any violations to the constitution."

Dr Gargash added that the Government feared that any delay would mean using last year's monthly budget figures until a new budget was passed. That had happened before and caused problems, he said.