The Financial and Economic Committee held its 40th meeting on Sunday at the Presidential Palace in Abu Dhabi.
The meeting was chaired by H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance, and was attended by H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, Obaid bin Humaid Al Tayer, Minister of State for Financial Affairs, Dr. Abdullah bin Mohammed Belhaif Al Nuaimi, Minister of Infrastructure Development, and Mubarak Rashed Khamis Al Mansoori, Governor of UAE Central Bank.
During the meeting, the Committee reviewed cash flows, vis-a-vis income during the current financial year, as well as the projected revenue for the remainder of the fiscal year 2019, to update the financial statements of the federal authorities. The financial reports confirmed that the liquidity of cash flows is managed according to the disbursement plan of the general federal budget, and to meet the needs of all federal entities to finance their projects, and accomplish their programmes and strategic objectives.
Also discussed at the meeting was the increase in the general federal budget over the years - financial statements indicate that the general federal budget for 2020 increased by two percent compared to the current year. The general federal budget for 2019 is about AED60.3 billion.
Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid stressed the importance of continuing to work hard to further enhance the services provided to citizens and residents through the optimal use of available financial resources. He pointed out that the wise leadership of the UAE always aims to increase financial resources, and invest and manage them efficiently in order to provide a decent life for all citizens and ensure their sustainability, as well as the wellbeing and happiness of future generations.
He added that the Ministry of Finance continues to work with all its federal partners, to build upon the achievements thus far in terms of bolstering the general federal budget with additional revenue. This is done through new development projects that support financial stability in the country and the vision of the wise leadership in achieving sustainable economic, social and financial development.
During the meeting, the committee reviewed the expected cash flows for the fiscal year 2020, to update the financial statements of the federal entities. It also assessed the recently prepared draft general budget for the fiscal year 2020, where the committee was directed to complete the procedures in accordance with the financial circular issued by the Ministry of Finance.
The Ministry of Finance recently issued Financial Circular No. 10 of 2019 on the preparation of the draft budget for 2020. The ministry has coordinated with relevant authorities to take all necessary measures to prepare the draft budget in light of the consolidated financial procedures manual of the federal government and by providing financial and technical consultations to all federal authorities. To achieve this objective, the ministry held a series of workshops for federal entities to clarify the steps to prepare the draft budget and the procedures to be followed in line with the financial system and the zero-budget system.
Obaid Al Tayer reiterated that the Ministry of Finance will prepare the draft federal budget for 2020 in accordance with the international best practices and will follow the highest standards of transparency, openness and cooperation with its partners. He lauded the relevant federal authorities for their cooperation and for preparing their budget projects in accordance with the strategic objectives that enhance the country's leading position in global competitiveness.
"The Ministry of Finance continues its efforts to further build upon the federal financial system and improve the services to meet the expectations of all citizens, residents and government entities. This is in line with the ministry’s objectives to underscore its global leadership in public finance management and in line with the goals of the UAE Vision 2021 which aims to make the UAE one of the best countries in the world in terms of economic and social development by 2021," Al Tayer noted.
At the end of its meeting, the Financial and Economic Committee also reviewed future projects of the federal government, which aim to raise the efficiency and effectiveness of government services, develop financial procedures and improve government performance in general in accordance with the international best practices.
It also deliberated the latest developments around the Etihad Rail Company project. The company seeks to make a quantum leap in the logistics sector by providing additional solutions for the movement of freight and distribution, thus bolstering sustainable development and economic growth by linking the main centres of industry and transport in line with a safe future strategy.
The budget for the fiscal year 2019 was the largest in the history of the federal government at AED60.3 billion, against estimated expenses in the same value. About 42.3 percent of the budgetary allocations were for community development programmes, while 17 percent were allocated to upgrading education systems and 7.3 percent to the health sector to provide world-class medical and healthcare services.