By Andy Sambidge
Cabinet says more than half will be spent on development and social welfare sectors
The UAE's cabinet on Sunday approved a AED140bn federal budget for 2014-16, with AED46bn ($12.5bn) planned to be spent next year.
More than half of the 2014 budget, which rose marginally from the AED44.6bn approved for 2013, will be allocated for the development and social welfare sectors, news agency WAM reported.
Another 21 percent of the budget has been allocated to both general and higher education sectors, it added.
Chaired by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, the cabinet also put aside AED18.5bn for the government affairs sector to upgrade and enhance delivery of services to citizens locally and abroad.
The cabinet also allocated AED3.7bn to the health sector, AED1.4bn for housing programmes and AED400m for the marriage fund.
The cabinet also announced that the al-Hijri New Year holiday for the private and public sectors will fall on Sunday November 3.
In other business, the cabinet also approved an economic cooperation agreement between the UAE and Portugal and ratified a free trade agreement between the GCC and European Free Trade Association (EFTA), which includes Switzerland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland.
Officials also approved air transport agreements with Djibouti, Salvador, Barbados and Burundi.