THE UAE has announced the establishment of a new council which will be responsible for the planning and implementation of infrastructure and housing projects and catering to the Emirati housing needs over the next 20 years.

The announcement was made at a cabinet meeting, chaired by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, which approved the general budget for 2022-2026, with federal spending of AED290 billion ($78.96 billion).

The cabinet also okayed the UAE General Budget for the year 2022, with AED58.931 billion expenditure.

 On the new UAE Infrastructure and Housing Council, the cabinet said it will be headed by Suhail Mohamed Al Mazrouei, Minister of Energy and Infrastructure with representatives from local governments as members.

The council is mandated to ensure integration and comprehensiveness in the planning and implementation of infrastructure and housing projects. It is also tasked with developing a detailed study on housing needs over the next 20  years. The study should be presented to the cabinet within one month.

The meeting, held at the Expo 2020 Dubai premises, also approved the new government strategic approach that serves as a framework to lay the foundations of work for the next 50 years.

 The largest share of the 2022 budget was allocated to the development and social benefits sector at 41.2 per cent, covering education, social development, health, pensions and other services.

 Some 3.8 per cent of the budget has been allocated to the infrastructure and financial resources sector.

Meanwhile, the UAE’s Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure has announced that 11,103 new residential units are currently being built under the Sheikh Zayed Housing Programme across the country.

 Since its launch in 1999, the programme, which is managed by the infrastructure ministry, has issued over 74,504 housing support resolutions, comprising loans and grants with a total value of AED41 billion.

The programme has till date delivered 35,455 housing units to beneficiaries. A total of 2,538 housing units have been handed over to beneficiaries last year, while 2021 saw the delivery of 1,726 housing units in Dubai, Ajman and Ras Al Khaimah, stated the ministry on World Habitat Day (October 4).

Speaking on occasion, Suhail bin Mohammed Al Mazrouei, Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, stressed that the ministry’s housing projects are part of its urban development plan for the next 50 years, and will support the UAE’s infrastructure system and help achieve the UAE’s goal of ensuring the welfare of citizens.

The year 2020 saw the announcement of directives to allocate land plots, housing loans and units, as well as to exempt retired citizens and families of deceased persons from paying loans, with a total value of AED15.5 billion, benefiting 13,626 citizens. This year too there had been an allocation of a AED65 billion budget to provide Emiratis with housing over the next two decades.