UAE ministers are to meet at a retreat later this month to set out a road map for the country’s future without oil.
Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, announced the move on Saturday, days after Arab finance undersecretaries met to discuss the introduction of a 3-5 percent VAT rate by 2018.
The move is forecast to generate between 10 billion AED and 12 billion AED in revenue for the UAE alone and is seen as one potential source of post-oil revenue for governments.
At present, 30 percent of the UAE economy is dependent on oil, and the meeting will discuss how that can be decreased in the coming decades.
Sheikh Mohammed said ministers, local government officials and economists at the retreat will “discuss UAE’s economy beyond oil”.
He said: “We will celebrate while exporting the last oil barrel as my brother His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, said, and we will embark on setting up a thorough national program to maintain that vision to realize a sustainable economy for future generations.
“Today, 70 percent of our GDP is independent from oil. Our goal is to have a new equation for our economy where we neither depend on oil nor market fluctuations.
The retreat follows the announcement in November that 300 billion AED will be invested in education, energy, transport, space technology and water resources, among others, to diversify the economy.