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21 February 2024

OECD recognises UAE's efforts in fighting coronavirus

Photo: WAM


The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, OECD, has recognised the determined efforts of the United Arab Emirates in fighting the coronavirus pandemic and the effective measures taken by the country’s government to limit the fallout of the crisis on different areas, including social and economic sectors.

The commendation followed an ongoing analysis issued by the organisation about the possible impact of the Covid-19 outbreak on countries around the world and the ability of their economic systems to deal with the crisis. The OECD’s Covid-19 Policy Hub includes a detailed explanation about the numbers of infected cases in each country and the respective measures they have taken to combat the outbreak.

The OECD based its assessment on a detailed report prepared by the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Authority (FCSA), which includes the initiatives, efforts and strategic plans made by different government entities at the national level aimed at ensuring the health and safety of the community. Taking into consideration the continuity of work in vital sectors such as energy, education, healthcare, communication and government services, the FCSA report highlights the various steps taken by the UAE to halt the spread of the coronavirus, which includes launching awareness campaigns and implementing practical steps, both of which have served to reduce the number of infected cases.

"The high level of responsiveness and prompt decision-making has led to the swift implementation of national plans to deal with the current crisis and ensured administrative efficiency in all government entities. The level of resilience displayed is proof of the innovation of the government system, which works in perfect harmony and coordination under the guidance of the UAE leadership to serve the country’s sustainable development goals," said Abdulla Nasser Lootah, Director General of the FCSA.

"The current crisis has created a real and ongoing challenge. The United Arab Emirates has been able to reduce the fallout from the pandemic in all sectors, thanks to the leadership’s strategy of investing in national qualifications and providing the country’s human capital with all the technical and smart tools to ensure success. Today, we reap the benefits of this investment and are proud of the national integrated team who deserve full praise because of their efforts and ability to collaborate professionally with the OECD - a prestigious global organisation," Lootah continued.

More achievements "We are keen to develop an integrated infrastructure for the national statistics system and to continuously update a comprehensive database that enables us to prepare detailed reports and studies that serve to advance the position of the United Arab Emirates on various global competitiveness indicators, in line with the directions of the prudent leadership," he stressed.

"We are proud of the praise from the OECD regarding the United Arab Emirates’ efforts and its efficiency in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. We invite all government entities to redouble their cooperation and coordination efforts across all domains to achieve greater successes and make qualitative advances for the country in all sectors and across different indicators," he concluded.

For His part, Andreas Schaal, Director of Global Relations, OECD, said : "The Covid-19 crisis has bluntly reminded us that, as our countries form part of a global interconnected community, international cooperation has never been so important. The UAE has proven to be an important and innovative partner, as we collectively strive to develop the most effective policies to address such an unprecedented crisis. Looking forward, we are convinced that the United Arab Emirates can play an important role in converting this crisis into an opportunity for the MENA region, and we welcome working with the UAE to make this possible."

On the level of measures As part of the OECD’s response to the pandemic, a Digital Hub on Tackling the Coronavirus (COVID-19) was launched to provide countries with timely and comprehensive information on policy responses around the world, together with OECD advice, in some cases. Specifically, the Country Policy Tracker is a repository of policy responses and measures from over 90 countries which allows citizens and policy makers to explore the actions taken by each country as we advance through the crisis towards recovery. Beyond immediate responses.

The Digital Hub aims to provide analysis on the longer-term consequences and impacts, paving the way to recovery with coordinated policy responses across countries. OECD analysis underpins the need for decisive action and a coordinated response by governments to kick-start the economy when possible, support the recovery and maintain a lifeline to people. In this way.

The OECD hopes to help governments learn from each other in real time, facilitate co-ordination, and contribute to the necessary global action when confronting this enormous collective challenge.

The United Arab Emirates’ efforts have been recognised and included within the indicator, due to its strategic partnership with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Innovative efforts The report issued by the FCSA highlights the efforts of the UAE government in dealing with the crisis on several levels, including containing the spread of the virus through quarantine and movement restrictions, the application of a distance learning system for university and school students, cancelling public events, curtailing air travel and suspending certain economic activities.

The report explains that the efforts to contain the virus are accompanied by a series of supportive, economic stimulators and commercial growth measures for individuals and companies in order to ensure business continuity. These include the launch by the Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates of two plans worth AED 256 billion, comprising AED 100 billion to support the economic growth of the retail sector and affected companies, and AED 156 billion to support the national economy. It also draws attention to the Abu Dhabi government’s AED 9 billion support plan and the Dubai government’s economic incentive package worth AED 1.5 billion. Other initiatives highlighted in the report include the United Arab Emirates Cabinet approving federal government financial stimulus packages worth AED 16 billion to support business continuity on top of previously announced economic incentive packages.

The FCSA report outlines that the economic measures have been accompanied by supportive healthcare measures. These include the conducting of the largest number of examinations on the population level compared to the other countries, with the tests ongoing on a daily basis and contributing to the detection of many cases. It also highlights the establishment of 13 drive-in testing centres across the UAE and a number of field hospitals that have been opened to ensure the highest levels of health and safety.

The FCSA report also includes the measures taken to reduce burdens on the private sector, with the various financial stimulus packages amounting to AED 86 million. These include extending automatically expired residencies for employees and workers for a period of three months, cancelling administrative fines for expired permits until the end of the current year, and reducing electricity and water services fees for dealers in the tourism, hospitality and trade sectors by 20% for a period of three months. It concludes with a reference to the regulatory measures taken to raise awareness of preventive measures and to preserve mental wellbeing in society.