DUBAI, The Emirates Development Bank, EDB, approved an estimated budget of AED1.5 billion for 2017 to finance housing loans for Emirati citizens and to help establish small and medium enterprises, SMEs.

The decision was taken during the EDB's 10th board meeting in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.

The budget allocates AED750 million for housing loans for Emirati citizens and a similar amount for the development of small and medium businesses to help the private sector generate more job opportunities for citizens. Comprising around 300,000 companies and accounting for 86 percent of the workforce in the private sector, the SME segment plays a critical role in the UAE economy.

''The Emirates Development Bank strives to deliver the Federal Government Vision 2021 by providing support, finance and innovative banking solutions to small and medium companies to help drive the UAE's transformation into a knowledge-based economy, and encourage innovation as well as research and development. It also extends housing loans to citizens to secure adequate accommodation at affordable cost,'' said Obaid bin Humaid Al Tayer, Minister of State for Financial Affairs and Chairman of EDB.

EDB was founded in 2011 with an authorised capital of AED10 billion to help finance developmental, residential and industrial projects for citizens.

Source: Emirates News Agency