x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

FNC to discuss UAE budget with Finance Minister

The session will be open to the public starting at 9am at the FNC headquarters in Abu Dhabi.

ABU DHABI // The Federal National Council will convene tomorrow to debate next year's federal budget with the Minister of Finance.

The Dh44.5 billion budget was passed by the Cabinet at the end of October. Social development will account for more than 50 per cent of spending, followed by education, water and electricity services and security. Full details are expected to be agreed tomorrow.

"Overall the budget is OK - up to 80 to 85 per cent - however it is not enough," said Ali Al Nuaimi (Ajman), the head of the FNC's finance committee. "I think the discussion will be fruitful."

Mr Al Nuaimi said the committee members had looked at the budgets for entities providing social services, housing and security.

They felt security would receive sufficient funding and focused on the ministries of Education, Public Works, Health, Economy and Finance, the Zayed Housing Fund, the Higher Colleges of Technology, UAE University, Zayed University, the Marriage Fund and Tawteen.

"We met with these places because they are the ones who provide services to the public," Mr Al Nuaimi said. "We wanted to meet them to know if this budget was enough to cover their strategic goals."

Mr Al Nuaimi said the committee had a list of comments and recommendations on the budget.

Although the council met last week, Mr Al Nuaimi said it planned to convene again because of the urgency of the budget.

"Next week will be the end of the year, maybe some people will be on holiday; we wanted to finish this as quickly as possible," he said.

Members will also discuss the possibility of a establishing a permanent human-rights committee in the council.

Before the discussion, three members plan to question ministers attending tomorrow's session.

Salim Al Ameri (Abu Dhabi) will question the Minister of Cabinet Affairs, Mohammed Abdullah Al Gargawi, about the lack of clarifications of laws and bylaws before they are implemented.

Dr Mohamed bin Ham (Abu Dhabi) will ask the Minister of State for Financial Affairs, Obaid Al Tayer, about pensions, and Dr Yaqoub Al Naqbi (Sharjah) will ask him if the ministry is monitoring commercial banks taking advantage of the high demand for Islamic banks by opening "Islamic" branches themselves.

The session will be open to the public from 9am at the FNC headquarters in Abu Dhabi.