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UAE's $13.3bn budget for 2017 to focus on education, healthcare

The UAE’s Federal National Council on Tuesday endorsed the budget for 2017, set in late October by the Cabinet at AED48.7 billion ($13.3 billion), with a prime focus on education, social development and health.

The budget is a marginal rise on the AED48.5 billion budget set for 2016, suggesting UAE authorities remain cautious about spending as low oil prices pressure state finances.

The approval came at a third session of the FNC’s 16th legislative chapter, presided over by Dr Amal Abdullah Al Qubaisi, Speaker of Federal National Council, news agency WAM reported.

About 20.5 percent of the 2017 budget, or AED10.2 billion, was earmarked to the education sector, 8.6 percent to the healthcare sector, 8.2 percent to public sector wages, 6.6 percent to social development and 3.3 percent to housing.

The UAE budget traditionally accounts for only around 14 percent of total fiscal spending in the country – the seven individual emirates, mainly oil-producing Abu Dhabi, provide the rest.

The International Monetary Fund projects the UAE will post a consolidated fiscal deficit, including the federal government and all the emirates, of 3.86 percent of gross domestic product this year.

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