DUBAI (AFP) – The United Arab Emirates government has decided to cut public spending in the 2011 federal budget by six percent and expects to end the year without a deficit, press reports said on Monday.
Spending is projected at 41 billion dirhams (11.17 billion dollars) in 2011 compared to 43.63 billion dirhams (11.89 billion dollars) for the current fiscal year, Gulf News reported.
The UAE cabinet approved total public spending for the next three fiscal years of 122 billion dirhams (33.2 billion dollars), the daily said.
Just under half of the 2011 budget — 19 billion dirhams or 46.3 percent — has been allocated to public services like education, health care and social assistance, up from this year’s 17.8 billion dirhams.
The UAE is a fedaration of seven emirates — Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Ras al-Khaimah, Umm al-Qaiwain and Fujairah.
In addition to the federal budget, each of the seven emirates adopts its own budget and the total spending in those budgets is much higher than that of the federal government.
With crude reserves estimated at 97.8 billion barrels, the UAE is oil cartel OPEC’s fourth largest producer. It has a population of about six million people, more than 80 percent of them expatriates, mostly Asians.
It pumps around 2.32 million barrels of oil per day, of which the emirate of Abu Dhabi, which is also the federation’s capital, contributes more than 90 percent.