UAE Minister of Economy confident about economic growth prospects in 2017
15 Jan 2017 - 10:13
Abu Dhabi: Minister of Economy of the United Arab Emirates Sultan Al Mansouri said he was confident about the country’s prospects for economic growth in 2017 despite challenges like lower oil prices. He expects growth rate this year to remain almost steady compared to 2016 at 3%.
In an interview with the UAE daily (Gulf News), the Economy Minister said his optimism was fuelled by factors that include the UAE economic diversification policy, which is reducing reliance on oil income.
He said non-oil contributions to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 3.6% in 2016, and said that analysts are eyeing a non-oil growth rate of up to 3.8% in 2017.
"With all of this the UAE will surely come out with positive results of a clear future, further raising the attractiveness of the UAE business environment. This is also likely to result in GDP growth of 3% in 2017, complementing the International Monetary Fund’s prediction of a growth rate of 3.3%, up from 3.1% at the end of 2016," the Minister said.
He also pointed factors such as improving national competencies to strengthen non-oil sectors, and consolidating the UAE economic relations at regional and international levels to boost trade and investment.
Discussing trade, Al Mansouri said Asian and African economies are key markets for the UAE particularly in the area of re-exports, whose contributions to the UAE economy is expected to increase.
Despite his optimism, the Minister said he expected some economic challenges in 2017.
"We foresee a few challenges that the country will be facing this year like the drop in oil prices, which still casts a shadow over the economies of oil exporting countries like the UAE. One aspect to this challenge is the difficultly in predicting the change in oil prices, and the possibility of returning to previous oil prices," he said.
Al Mansouri added that the difficulty in determining the amount of oil income by the end of the year represents a "vast slide in the general revenues of the state, and will also result in a national budget deficit, demonstrating either a growth or decline".
"As a result, the UAE should urge for the adoption of prudent fiscal and economic policies that will strengthen the capacity of the national economy to withstand the pressures, and maintain financial and monetary stability, and push for sustainable growth," he said.