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13 April 2024

No shortage of banknotes, says ministry

Total cash withdrawals from the Central Bank amounted to Dh139bn from January-November 2008. (JOSEPH J CAPELLAN)

By Abdel Hai Mohamed

There is no shortage of currency notes in the UAE economy and the Central Bank is not rejecting the cash demands of banks or exchange companies, according to the Finance Ministry.

Obaid Humaid Al Tayer, Minister of State for Financial Affairs, told the Federal National Council (FNC) yesterday that the UAE Central Bank has not rejected any demand for banknotes or coins from the country's financial institutions – public or private.

Al Tayer said the Central Bank has met all the cash needs of banks and exchange establishments as requested. Total cash withdrawals of all denominations from the Central Bank amounted to some Dh139 billion over the period January-November 2008, he said, consisting mainly of Dh50, Dh100, Dh200 and Dh500 currency notes.

He said the Central Bank supplies banknotes and coins through its Abu Dhabi headquarters as well as branches in Dubai, Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah, Fujairah and Al Ain.

Al Tayer said banks and exchange companies submit requests to the Central Bank every morning, and most often banks authorise private security firms to submit the requests and receive the currency notes from the Central Bank on their behalf.

The minister, who is also Deputy Board Chairman of the General Authority for Pensions and Social Insurance, said it would be difficult to raise pensions at the moment because of limited resources. Over the period 1999-2008, the number of pensioners has risen to 1,191 from 319. They had been paid Dh4.5 million worth of pensions over that period, he said.

He said the authority is working on plan to develop social insurance privileges through making the required amendments to meet future needs. The total contribution by an insured person over his service of 20 years or more is paid as pensions for six years or less. His widow or dependant children will continue to receive pensions for at least 30 to 40 years, said Al Tayer.

He said the number of nationals insured went up to 1,598 in 2008 from 394 in 1999, and the number of the insured from the private sector, local government establishments and ministries rose to 73,531 in 2008.

Dh730m to treat diabetics

The Ministry of Health is spending more than Dh730 million a year on treating diabetes, the Federal National Council was told yesterday.

"Diabetes is in every home and 24 per cent of nationals and 17.4 per cent of expatriates suffer from the condition," said the Minister, Humaid Mohammed Obaid Al Qattami.

"Complications such as apoplexy and organ amputation cost Dh55,000 and Dh84,000 per patient respectively."

He told the council that the number of people with Aids in the UAE was lower than the global average, adding that 751 nationals had contracted the disease between 1985 and 2008 and 159 of them had died. He revealed that 627 expatriates with Aids had been deported in 2007.

Al Qattami ruled out giving Aids tests to visitors, adding: "Visa holders will not have Aids tests, in accordance with World Health Organisation agreements."

He said the ministry was working with the WHO on a project to combat the disease.