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Major spending plans in Abu Dhabi approved

Spending plans for a number major of projects in Abu Dhabi have been approved by the Abu Dhabi Executive Council following a broad review of development plans in the emirate.

The review process was led by Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed al-Nahyan, the vice chairman of the executive council. It has been underway since last year.

The projects span education, healthcare, industry, tourism, infrastructure and renewable energy, according to a statement posted on the Abu Dhabi Executive Council's website on Monday.

"These investments are aligned with the long-term strategy of the government to support infrastructure projects, and upgrading the level of services provided to its residents, investors and visitors," the council, a government advisory board, said in the statement.

Budgets and opening dates were approved - but not disclosed - for three high-profile museum projects, including Foster and Partners' Zayed National Museum, the Jean Nouvel-concocted Louvre Abu Dhabi and the Frank Gehry-designed Guggenheim.

The meeting also approved the budget for infrastructure works at Khalifa Industrial Zone (KIZAD) for the new Shaikh Khalifa Port. The first operations at the new port are expected to commence on September 1.

In industrial development, the meeting approved two new industrial zones in Ruwais and Medinat Zayed in the Western Region. The Ruwais industrial zone will cover an area of 14 sq-km and will focus on the chemical, petrochemical, plastic manufacturing, oil and gas, cement, building and logistics industries.

During the meeting, provision was made for the design of a metro and tram system to help reduce traffic congestion in the city of Abu Dhabi.

As part of the spending announcement, the government committed to building 7,608 residential villas for its citizens, including the North Wathba project, one of the largest social housing schemes approved to date.

The council also approved plans for new terminal facilities at Abu Dhabi's airport, which are planned to increase yearly passenger capacity to 27mn. The terminal is due to open in the fourth quarter of 2016.