In October 2016, the UAE Cabinet approved the federal budget draft for 2017–2021, with an estimated spending of AED 247.3 billion over five years, making the UAE the first Arab country to prepare a periodic five-year budget.
This budget is in line with the directives of Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, to prepare a budget draft with plans for every five years to improve the level of social services, and upgrade the smart services of the government with the aim of increasing customer satisfaction regarding the federal government's efforts to enhance the welfare, prosperity, happiness and security of community members.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said: 'The government seeks to provide all the means and capabilities to meet the requirements of the national vision. This will make it one of the best governments in the world through the optimal use of resources to enhance services provided to citizens and residents.'
The future vision has been fully reflected in a budget that enables forward-looking programmes, plans and strategies while offering an in-depth overview of the targets, moving towards accomplishment of the UAE Vision 2021. This budget supports comprehensive development programmes, with a view to keep pace with future developments on both regional and international levels. The volume of the budget covers spending over five years, affirming the federal government’s commitment and MoF’s keenness to foresee the future and prepare comprehensive strategies aiming to support medium and long-term development plans.
The budget draft for 2017-2021, submitted by MoF to the Cabinet, has an estimated spending of AED 247.3 billion over five years.
In coordination with the Ministry of Cabinet Affairs and The Future, MoF has cooperated with all federal entities to ensure that the developed plans and programmes are in line with the strategic plan for 2017-2021.
The ministry has also made huge efforts during the last budget cycle 2014-2016, in order to develop the necessary infrastructure and upgrade online financial systems so as to meet the requirements of the five-year plan as per the future Government vision and according to leadership directives.
The draft budget was prepared as per laws, the Cabinet's resolution on extending the term of the budget plan from three to five years, and in accordance with the provisions of the financial circular concerning preparing a draft budget on the basis of a medium-term plan for 2017-2021, which included the following:
Adhering to the budget cap, and approved strategic objectives
Reviewing revenue forecasts and indicators of each entity in accordance with the strategic plan's objectives
Working according to the approved Budget Planning Handbook as a reference
Budget estimates are prepared on the basis of six major elements; namely:
Alignment of the budget with government strategy 2021
Application of zero-based budgeting principles
Seamless integration of annual budgets in a five-year budget cycle
Identification of sectoral spending targets and federal entities budgets
Integration of CAPEX and OPEX budgeting
Elimination of unjustified vacancies
In each annual budget, forecasts of revenues, expenses and allocations are to be produced on the basis of six main sectors:
His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and UAE Minister of Finance, declared that the main goal of preparing a budget draft with plans for every five years is to improve the level of social services, and upgrade the smart services of the government with the aim of increasing customer satisfaction regarding the federal government's efforts to enhance the welfare, prosperity, happiness and security of the people.
Sheikh Hamdan added that the ongoing support and encouragement of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum to continue the genuine efforts and superb craftsmanship to be number one has paid off, reflected by the UAE’s ranking of first position in the Public Finance Policies Index in 2015 and first place in the Government Efficiency and Good Management of Public Finances Index, in addition to the second place in terms of budget surplus and third in terms of efficiency of government fiscal policy among the top 10 countries worldwide in global competitiveness, as well as other achievements in the Global Competitiveness Reports.