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Emirates

Mohammed bin Rashid approves Dubai Government’s general budget for 2022-2024 with AED181 billion expenditure

DUBAI, 2nd January, 2022 (WAM) — In his capacity as Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, has approved the Government of Dubai's general budget for the fiscal cycle of 2022-2024, with a total expenditure of AED181 billion.

His Highness has also approved Law No. (28) for the General Budget for the fiscal Year 2022, with AED59.95 billion expenditure.

The budget cycle will support Dubai’s efforts to stimulate the macroeconomy and the objectives of the Dubai Strategic Plan 2030. The new general budget reflects the emirate’s determination to accelerate post-pandemic economic recovery and achieve the leadership’s broader goals to stimulate entrepreneurship, enhance society’s happiness and consolidate Dubai’s position as a land of opportunities and innovation.

H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council of Dubai, said, "The Dubai government continues to consolidate the emirate's position as a leading global commercial hub and raise its international competitiveness by creating new growth opportunities for vital sectors in line with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum to enhance sustainable development and government performance. Dubai’s general budget for the fiscal cycle of 2022-2024, which reflects the fundamental strengths and stable base of the emirate’s economy, supports the realisation of its future economic aspirations, in addition to placing the emirate at the forefront of worldwide efforts to promote recovery."

The three-year budget cycle focuses on increasing economic growth rates by activating the public-private partnership ecosystem and supporting the private sector to drive economic growth. It also addresses the social aspects of healthcare and education, as well as digital infrastructure development and financial sustainability programmes.

Through its 2022 budget, Dubai continues to place a high emphasis on developing social services, and its healthcare, education and cultural sectors. The budget also pays attention to citizens’ housing sector by raising the value of the housing loan to AED1 million and allocating more than 4,000 plots and houses with a total value of AED5.2 billion in the first phase of the housing programme for citizens in Dubai within a broader 20-year programme of AED65 billion.

The budget also focuses on developing the Social Benefits Fund by supporting families and people of determination, which is set to consolidate Dubai's position as one of the best cities in the world to live and work in.

Abdulrahman Saleh Al Saleh, Director-General of the Department of Finance of the Government of Dubai (DoF), affirmed the government’s commitment to continue its development efforts through the general budget cycle for the fiscal years 2022-2024, further raising financial sustainability and stimulating the growth of entrepreneurship in Dubai.

"Dubai government is eager to develop its financial plan annually to provide economic incentives that will have an impact on attracting more investments, improve the emirate's competitive position and achieve the goals of the Dubai Strategic Plan 2030. The 2022 budget strengthens recovery efforts and acts as a starting point within an integrated scheme of the 2030 plan. It also seeks to achieve the vision of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who has issued directives to increase government support for families and people of determination, develop government work and increase institutional agility," said Al Saleh.

He also affirmed the Dubai government’s commitment to the directives of H.H. Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, in terms of adopting disciplined financial policies, leading to an operating surplus of AED1.8 billion, which represents three percent of the expected total revenue. This will contribute to the development of the emirate's infrastructure programmes and consolidate the emirate's financial sustainability policy.

Arif Abdulrahman Ahli, Executive Director of Planning & Budget Sector at DoF, said, "The Dubai government’s medium-term financial planning methodology and the announcement of a three-year financial plan exemplifies the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and the directives of H.H. the Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council, and H.H. the Deputy Ruler of Dubai."

"The 2022 budget responds to the requirements of the Dubai Strategic Plan 2030 and is a transparent expression of the emirate's stable financial position. It also reflects disciplined financial policies based on international best practices. Achieving an operating surplus of 3 percent of total government revenues is an indication of the financial sustainability that the department is keen to ensure," Ahli explained.

Projected government revenues for 2022

The 2022 budget expects to achieve revenues estimated at AED57.55 billion, an increase of 10 percent over the expected revenues of the previous budget of the fiscal year 2021, as a result of the rapid recovery of Dubai and the effective measures taken to curb the pandemic. Dubai is one of the first cities in the world to achieve a rapid recovery due to the economic stimulus measures approved by the government that reduced some government fees for businesses and put a freeze on fee increases until 2023.

These revenues are based on ongoing operations in the emirate and do not rely on oil revenues. Oil revenues account for six percent of the total projected revenues for the fiscal year 2022, which creates the conditions for enhanced financial sustainability.

Non-tax revenues, which come from fees, account for 57 percent of the total expected revenues, while tax revenues account for 31 percent, and government investment revenues represent six percent of the total expected revenues.

Jamal Hamid Al Marri, Executive Director, Central Accounts Sector at DoF pointed to the Department’s efforts to consolidate development and innovation through the development of financial programmes and financial data platforms. "These tools make a clear contribution to making financial statements available to the government, companies and individuals, which will help further raise Dubai's competitiveness. DOF is constantly creating programmes to develop the public finance landscape and achieve financial excellence, in addition to implementing International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS), which will have the greatest impact in showing the fruits of budget implementation and developing new ways to enhance government performance."

Projected government expenditure for 2022

Salary and wage allowances of the 2022 budget account for 34 percent of total government spending, in accordance with the requirements of the new human resources law. Grant and social support expenditure accounts for 21 percent of all expenditure, to meet the requirements of human and community development and provide public services to the residents of the emirate.

The government has allocated an amount of AED5.2 billion for construction projects, despite the completion of Expo-related projects, the activation of the Public-Private Partnership Law and the development of project financing mechanisms in the Dubai government through long-term financing.

The government has also allocated nine percent of the total expenditure to maintain the volume of investments in infrastructure, in line with Dubai's aspirations to be the world’s most preferred destination to live in.

Two percent of the total expenditure is allocated to the private reserve to support emergency preparedness programmes, while public debt accounts for six percent of the total expenditure, to follow a disciplined fiscal policy that ensures the budget fulfills all obligations.

Sectoral distribution of government expenditure

The budget of the fiscal year 2022 reflects the government's commitment to the people. Government spending on the social development sector in areas of health, education, housing and women and children's care, as well as developing reading and coding initiatives and supporting athletes and people of determination, represents 30 percent of the total expenditure.

The government's concern for security, justice and safety sees 23 percent of the total expenditure being allocated to promote enhanced efficiency in the sector.

Dubai's keenness to develop its infrastructure and transportation, apart from hosting Expo 2020 Dubai, has led to an allocation of 42 percent of total spending to the sector. This reflects its pledge to deal with future commitments, support entrepreneurship and create an environment conducive for incubating micro ventures.

The emirate has also been keen to support the sectors of government excellence, creativity, innovation and scientific research by allocating five percent of the total government expenditure to develop performance and instill a culture of excellence.

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Emirates

UAE foreign trade achieved AED2.233 trillion in 2022 with growth rate of 17%: Mohammed bin Rashid

ABU DHABI, 6th February, 2023 (WAM) — His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, chaired the UAE Cabinet meeting at Qasr Al Watan Abu Dhabi, in the presence of H.H. Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Finance; H.H. Lt. General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior; and H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Presidential Court.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid said, "Today, I chaired the UAE cabinet meeting in Abu Dhabi. We expressed our sincere condolences and sympathy to Syrian and Turkish people, as well as the families of victims. Based on the directives of President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, all disaster relief work teams have been directed to coordinate with the two brotherly countries to provide all kinds of aid.”

His Highness explained, “During the Cabinet meeting, we reviewed the results of the UAE's foreign trade in 2022. Our foreign trade achieved a historical record reaching more than AED2.2 trillion, a growth of 17 precent.”

“Today, we approved the National Framework for Sustainable Development in the UAE. The goal is to preserve ecosystems and ensure the sustainability of our natural resources. We also assigned the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment to coordinate government efforts in preparation for hosting COP28," he added.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid stated, "We approved the executive decisions to establish the National Space Fund, which aims to support the implementation of ambitious national projects in the field of space, support youth capabilities and competencies, and attract the best space companies to the UAE market.”

“We assigned the competent entities to submit an urgent study to the Cabinet on how to benefit from new AI technologies in government work, examine its future effects on the educational, health, media and other sectors, and how the government will deal positively and safely with these technologies," His Highness further said.

UAE non-oil foreign trade

The non-oil foreign trade of the UAE achieved record growth rates in 2022, reaching AED2 trillion and 233 billion, with a growth rate of 17 percent compared to 2021. The country has exceeded the AED2 trillion barrier for the first time in history. This achievement comes after the country's non-oil foreign trade achieved a growth of 12 percent in 2020, recording AED1,496 trillion, and recorded a jump of 28 percent in 2021 to reach AED1,911 trillion.

The National Framework for Sustainable Development

The UAE Cabinet approved the National Framework for Sustainable Development, which represents a comprehensive framework for all approved national strategies, policies and agendas concerned with organising environmental work in the country, and maintaining a sustainable environment that supports economic growth. The framework includes 5 main pillars: nature, environmental health, climate change, living organisms, and biosecurity.

The National Framework aims to enhance the quality of life in the country, promote diversification and economic prosperity, preserve the UAE's ecosystems, sustain its ecological resources and services, and support the achievement of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

In 2022, the UAE topped the Yale University's 2022 Environmental Performance Index in six environmental indicators globally, becoming the first regionally, in the Arab world and in the Gulf.

COP28

As part of the ongoing preparation for the UAE to host the 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28), the cabinet approved assigning the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment to coordinate with federal and local authorities to prepare the country's readiness plan for the event, and ensure the participation of federal government entities in organising this global event.

UAE Green Agenda 2030

The Cabinet was briefed on developments in the implementation of the UAE Green Agenda 2030, which aims to achieve the goals of sustainable development, and the objectives of the UAE Centennial 2071.

During the coming period 2023-2030, the UAE will implement initiatives and projects to support the goals of green economy, including increasing GDP by 4 percent to 5 percent by 2030, increasing exports by about AED24 to 25 billion by 2030, and reducing emissions from 430 kilowatt-hours in 2013 to less than 100 kilowatt-hours by 2030.

National Space Fund

During the meeting, a resolution regarding the establishment of the National Space Fund was adopted. The Fund which will be managed and supervised by the UAE Space Agency, aims to build national capabilities and competencies, raise the economic contribution to diversifying the national economy, and consolidate the UAE’s position in the space sector.

The Fund is set to develop the infrastructure supporting the space industry, and create an appropriate environment to attract startup companies in space. In addition, the National Space Fund aims at adopting governance systems to achieve leadership in the space sector, attracting specialised global companies, and building partnerships between national and international advanced technology companies.

National policies for Cybersecurity

The Cabinet meeting approved the National Policy for IoT security, the National Programme for Cybersecurity Accreditation, the National Policy for Cloud Security. In addition to a number of related policies aiming at providing solutions for current and future challenges related to cybersecurity.

The meeting also approved the formation of a national committee to combat cyber-attacks.

Advance Government work with AI technologies

The Cabinet approved a policy to raise the efficiency of government work through the use of artificial intelligence technologies. The policy includes standards and guidelines that guarantee safe use of AI, and the scope of its use in government work.

The policy aims at increasing the productivity and efficiency in various sectors, enhancing competitiveness and the quality of government services, and provides more training opportunities for employees.

“Made in UAE”

The Cabinet adopted a decision on updating the “Made in the UAE” unified national mark ecosystem, in order to support national products. The update includes simplifying the procedures for obtaining the mark, allowing industrial facilities in free zones to obtain it, and confirming the facility's commitment to product safety through the application of conformity standards.

Nafis

The Cabinet was briefed on the developments of Emiratisation programmes in the private sector, and issued a decision regarding the amendment of some provisions related to the goals of the “Nafis” initiatives, so that the annual target for Emiratisation is divided throughout the year by 1 percent in the first six months of the year and the other 1 percent in the second half of the year.

The UAE Cabinet meeting approved a decision regarding the issuance of executive regulations for a number of federal laws and legislations, including the federal law regarding protecting witnesses and secret sources; the Federal Law regarding accessing genetic resources and their derivatives; the federal law regarding private health facilities, in accordance with the UAE’s policy regarding foreign investor ownership; the Federal Decree-Law regarding Electronic Transactions and Trust Services.

The Cabinet approved a resolution regarding the structure of Islamic sukuk.

The meeting has approved the establishment of a number of embassies in several countries, including Copenhagen, the Kingdom of Denmark; Prague, Czech Republic; Helsinki, the Republic of Finland; Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

The Cabinet approved several international agreements with a number of friendly countries, including the Republic of Lithuania, the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, the Republic of Poland, the Russian Federation and Israel.

Furthermore, during the meeting, the Cabinet reviewed a number of annual reports for the year 2022.

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Emirates

Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Inaugurates ‘Children’s Well-being in a Digital World’ Conference

ABU DHABI, 6th February, 2023 (WAM) — Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence, today inaugurated the “Children's Well-being in a Digital World” International Conference, organised by Emirates Safer Internet Society (eSafe) in Abu Dhabi.

The conference coincides with the Safer Internet Day 2023, marked annually on 9th February.

In attendance were over 250 participants from government entities, international and national non-government organisations, academia, tech industry and school and college students.

Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak presented the newly introduced eSafe Child Online Protection Award 2022 to ten schools for their commendable work in driving digital safety measures – policies, awareness raising and data protection initiatives – in their respective educational institutions.

In his keynote speech, Dr. Mohamed Al Kuwaiti, Head of Cybersecurity, UAE Government, said that the first line of defence for cyber safety is the awareness of parents, guardians, and the family about online risks which they must periodically share with their children.

A very informed panel represented by Dr. Bushra Al Mulla, Director General – Family Care Authority; Dr Ibrahim Al Dabal, CEO – AQDAR; Lt. Col. Abdulrahman Al Tamimi, Director – Ministry of Interior Child Protection Centre; Saji Thomas, Chief Child Protection-UNICEF Gulf Area etc. were in attendance.

The UAE student community was proudly represented by Hour Almadhaani from Khalifa University and Zoya Ahmed from Ambassador School Sharjah who were successful winners of a competition organised on student awareness on issues concerning online safety prior to the conference.

The inclusive conference was organised under three thematic streams: Safety of Children in the Digital World; Children and Families Well-Being in the Digital World; and Role of civic engagement and partnerships in promoting digital well-being.

The conference debates were focused around wellbeing issues that really mattered to children and young people, safety issues that impacted children and young people, how families and parents could contribute to their children’s well-being, and how could we all work together to advocate for them moving forward.

Dr. Al Mulla said, “We must think of ways to responsibly employ the tools and channels of the digital world at all levels of institutions for families and children. Our children form the centre of the family and society, and today are more in need than ever of our guidance on the digital world. The Family Care Authority follows up on reported cases of bullying, extortion and threats to children through a number of specialists who in turn review the cases with the concerned authorities."

“The Authority pays great attention to the needs of children and proposes policies and procedures to make sure that individuals and families have access to the services they need to achieve stability. The Authority also cooperates with all its partners to ensure the quality of life of families in Abu Dhabi,” she added.

The conference panellists were in unison in resonating that proactive cooperation and collaboration amongst government, academia, technology companies, and families was key to addressing child online safety and well-being. A holistic approach and a synergised response was the way forward to protect children from online risks and potential harm and thereby contributing to their physical, social emotional well-being.

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Emirates

Secretary-General of Muslim Council of Elders, Prosecutor of International Criminal Court reaffirm role of justice institutions in promoting peace

ABU DHABI, 6th February, 2023 (WAM) — The Secretary-General of the Muslim Council of Elders, Judge Mohamed Abdelsalam, and the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Karim Ahmad Khan, have reaffirmed the role of justice institutions in promoting peace and human fraternity.

During a meeting at the Council's headquarters in Abu Dhabi, they discussed potential cooperation, diverse heritage of international law, and the Council's role in promoting peaceful coexistence.

Khan praised the Muslim Council of Elders under the Chairmanship of the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, His Eminence Dr. Ahmed Al-Tayeb for its work in spreading peace and coexistence globally. He also recognised the Council's efforts in addressing a variety of humanitarian issues including: the Myanmar issue, the call for an inter-Islamic dialogue, the affirmation of women's rights to education, and the dispatching of peace convoys.

Khan noted the UAE's efforts in promoting peace saying that the 'Human Fraternity Meeting' in Abu Dhabi was a reflection of those efforts. He also emphasised the importance of disseminating the Document on Human Fraternity's ideals and seeking to reflect them in international laws and legislation.

Judge Abdelsalam said that the Council's mission to advance peace and human fraternity in Muslim and non-Muslim nations is a vision and a message that it proudly carries.

He also noted that the human fraternity document has today become a major source of interest and inspiration for many nations around the world. “In light of the difficulties our world is currently facing, there is a crucial role that institutions can play in fostering and sustaining both societal peace and religious freedom,” he added.

Abdelsalam praised the UAE in particular for its role in supporting initiatives that promote peace, tolerance, coexistence while countering hatred and human trafficking.

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