June 5, 2018 / 7:13 PM / in a year

Abu Dhabi crown prince approves $13.61 billion in economic stimulus

FILE PHOTO: Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan of the United Arab Emirates attends a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia June 1, 2018. Pavel Golovkin/Pool via REUTERS

DUBAI (Reuters) - Abu Dhabi’s crown prince said on Tuesday he had approved 50 billion dirham ($13.61 billion) worth of measures to stimulate growth in the emirate and make it easier to do business, create jobs and boost tourism.

Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed, de facto leader of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), tweeted that the new initiative would also speed up contract payments to the private sector and exempt new licenses from the requirement of having a physical presence in the emirate in the first two years.

“Under the guidance of HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed, I have approved a 3-year, 50 billion dirham economic stimulus package to support Abu Dhabi’s economic development and have tasked the Executive Council’s Executive Committee to draw up a working plan for allocations within 90 days,” Sheikh Mohammed tweeted.

He also ordered the creation of at least 10,000 jobs for Emiratis in the private and public sectors over the next five years.

More money would be spent to establish an “Abu Dhabi Accelerators and Advanced Industries Council” to attract and support value-added investments and new technologies.

The UAE economy is expected to recover gradually this year without suffering a significant blow to growth from the introduction of a 5 percent value-added tax in January.

Growth rose by 1.2 percent in the first quarter of 2018, accelerating from 0.1 percent in the previous quarter year-on-year, the central bank said last week.

Non-oil economic activity in the Gulf Arab country grew by 3.1 percent from a year earlier over the same period, slowing slightly from 3.4 percent in the final quarter of 2017.

Reporting By Aziz El Yaakoubi and Omar Fahmy, editing by Larry King

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