x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Complaints over power cuts as FEWA runs Dh1bn surplus

Several ministries and federal bodies are mismanaging their money, an FNC report claims.

ABU DHABI // Several ministries and federal bodies are mismanaging their money, an FNC report claims.

The allegations were made yesterday in a report by the council's financial affairs committee, which studied government spending last year.

In a debate with Obaid Humaid al Tayer, the Minister of State for Financial Affairs, FNC members expressed concern at alleged violations by the ministries and said the council rubber-stamped spending without seeking action to stem the mismanagement.

One of the findings that drew criticism was that the Federal Electricity and Water Authority, which provides utility services to the Northern Emirates, did not spend Dh1.6 billion of its allocated budget, despite complaints of widespread electricity and water shortages in the areas it services. Part of the unspent budget was used to cover costs that had exceeded estimates, leaving a total surplus of around Dh800m.

"Tens of hundreds of locals have been waiting for three to four years to get electricity," said Dr Abdul Raheem al Shaheen, a member from Ras al Khaimah. "How can an agency have a surplus of close to Dh1bn and nationals do not have electricity in their homes?"

Several bodies that fall under the Federal Government failed to turn in revenues to the Government, in what one member termed a breach of the Constitution, it was claimed.

These bodies included Dubai Civil Defence, and licensing and traffic departments in Umm al Qaiwain and Ras al Khaimah. Only the capital turned in revenues from traffic fines to the Federal Government, it was said. Emirates other than Abu Dhabi and Dubai still did not contribute to the federal budget - another Constitutional violation, said Dr al Shaheen.

The report warned that several ministries were not spending money allocated for programmes, and criticised the Finance Ministry for not fulfilling its role to oversee federal spending. Tanmia, the UAE's employment agency, invested Dh7m in stocks in India, said Dr al Shaheen. "Tanmia is meant to employ Emiratis, and is not an investment company."

Several bodies such as the foreign, education and health ministries had paid undeserved wages to individuals who no longer worked at these ministries, as well as overpaying some, the report claimed.

Mr al Tayer said the ministry's oversight role was limited to the period before the money was given to federal bodies. But he said the ministry would conduct quarterly reviews of government spending to strengthen oversight.

 

kshaheen@thenational.ae