February 8, 2016 / 3:42 PM / 2 years ago

UAE plans to trim ministries, outsource most government services: PM

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Prime Minister and Vice-President of the United Arab Emirates and ruler of Dubai, attends the Summit of South American-Arab Countries, in Riyadh November 10, 2015.Faisal Al Nasser

DUBAI (Reuters) - The United Arab Emirates plans to outsource most government tasks to the private sector and cut the number of ministries, Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum said on Monday.

The announcement comes as energy-rich Gulf Arab states have been hit by low oil prices, encouraging them to streamline institutions and attract more foreign investment.

"We will have a road map to outsource most government services to the private sector ... The new government will have a smaller number of ministries and more ministers to deal with national and strategic issues," the prime minister said on his official Twitter account.

He announced the formation of a single education ministry, abolishing the ministry of higher education, and fused several other state bodies into related ministries. No time frame was given for the changes.

Gulf Arab oil exporters have for years subsidized food, fuel, electricity and water, keeping prices very low in an effort to maintain social order, though the UAE economy is less reliant than some of its neighbors on oil revenues.

Reporting by Noah Browning and Yara Bayoumy; Editing by Mark Trevelyan

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