UAE approves $16.4 billion budget for 2019

The UAE on Sunday (September 30th) approved a zero-deficit 60.3 billion dirham ($16.4 billion) budget for 2019, up 17% from this year's budget and the largest in the country's history, AFP reported.

According to the state-run WAM news agency, over 40% of next year's budget will go towards community development, 17% towards education and 7% to healthcare.

Vice President Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum said the cabinet also had approved a 180 billion dirham ($49 billion) budget for the next three years.

"Fifty-nine percent of [the three-year budget] will go towards education and social development," Sheikh Mohammed said Sunday. "Our budget is without deficit, and next year's budget will be the largest in the history of the country."

In May, the UAE announced new incentives to attract foreign investment, including 100% ownership of companies and 10-year visas for professionals and investors.

The measures by the UAE, the Middle East's second largest economy after Saudi Arabia, came amid a slowdown in the oil, tourism and real estate sectors.

The International Monetary Fund said in May that UAE economic growth fell to just 0.5% in 2017 from 3% the previous year, due to a contraction in the oil sector.

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