Key resolutions on demographics issued

Sheikh Mohammed chairs cabinet meeting at the Presidential Palace in Abu Dhabi. (WAM)

The UAE handling of the demographic structure challenge forms one of national priorities and key  guidelines of the government action, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, affirmed on Sunday.

Speaking during a Federal Cabinet meeting which was wholly dedicated to the demographic structure  issue, Sheikh Mohammed said instructions given by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed  Al Nahyan "are clear" empowering the UAE citizen and make him the key engine of development. Guided  by these instructions, the government is drawing and implementing an integrated framework of  government concerted initiatives and policies whose prime target is to strike a demographic balance  in parallel with the comprehensive development that benefits UAE citizen in all emirates of the  country.

During the session, which was attended by Lt General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime  Minister and Minister of Interior, in his capacity as Chairman of the Federal Demographic Structure  Council, a raft of major sovereign resolutions were taken whereas all concerned bodies were tasked  with implementing them in line with the strategy presented by Sheikh Saif.

The first resolutions issued by the cabinet sets specific, clear percentage targets of UAE citizens  over the next 20 years through a package of concerted economic and social policies and initiatives  based on the projected economic and demographic growth scenarios during the said period. All  demographic policies will seek to deliver these targets.

In the second resolution, the Federal Cabinet instructed all entities concerned with economic  planning and monitoring of manpower in the country to adopt a balanced development method  characterised with economic diversification, dependence on skilled workforce and modern technology  in its production cycle in order to have a knowledge-based economy that generates opportunities for  UAE citizens and meets development requirements as per instructions of the leadership which makes  the citizen an axis and target of development.

In this respect, the cabinet approved the creation of a fund for productivity improvement whose  mandate is to stimulate the private sector to improve its productivity through introduction of  advanced technologies, provision of skilled and trained workforce to the private sector companies.

The fund will act under the jurisdiction of the Federal Demographic Structure Council whose  Chairman will approve its powers and statute.
Unskilled labour

According to the third resolution, the cabinet instructed that uncontrolled import of unskilled  labourers should be limited and replaced by recruitment from within the UAE and bringing in highly  skilled workforce based on the accredited professional and educational certificates.

The chairman of the Federal Demographic Structure Council may exempt from this resolution domestic  helpers or any other categories he specifies.

The cabinet instructed the authorities handling labour issues to work out suitable alternative  methods to supply the local labour market with skilled professionals through establishment of  overseas centres for testing and training workforce in the labour-sending countries without making  employers bearing any additional costs instead of the unsystematic import of workforce at present.
Construction sector

In a bid to lessen the unskilled workers in the construction sector, the largest employer of this  kind of manpower, the cabinet instructed the competent agencies to introduce an indicator for  construction that defines a set of technical standards for building designs focusing on improving  productivity in this sector and limiting the number of unskilled workers according to regulations  that help contracting companies to use modern technology.

The cabinet also instructed these entities to set a minimum for the required qualifications to  occupy some jobs and professional and handicraft works starting with the construction sector. These  qualifications should also be adopted by the Chairman of the Federal Demographic Structure Council  in order to have a job market based on skillful professionals and modern technologies.
Labour replacement

The cabinet also mandated the Federal Demographic Structure Council (FDSC) to define a ceiling for  the number of vocational and marginal professions, or any other professions that could be  replaced  by modern technology. The numbers are to be specified annually and amended according to need.

The cabinet directed all concerned authorities to comply with these resolutions. FDSC has been  assigned to oversee implementation of the resolutions, to establish a liaison among different  entities towards the implementation and to regularly submit recommendations and progress reports  about the initiative to the cabinet.

At the end of the session, the cabinet praised the comprehensive strategy put forward by the FDSC  and commended the efforts being made in dealing with the challenges of demographic  structure.

Mohammed meets Iranian foreign minister

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, on Sunday received at the Presidential Palace in Abu Dhabi, the Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi.

Present were Lt General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs and Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Foreign Minister.

Sheikh Mohammed Ali Akbar reviewed the overall current situation in the region and ways to promote peace and stability for the prosperity of their people.

During the meeting, Sheikh Mohammed reiterated the importance of establishing stability in the region and the importance of communication between officials in the UAE and the Islamic Republic of Iran with his confirmation on a mutual respect for sovereignty of states in the region.

He welcomed the visit of the Iranian minister and his accompanying delegation to the UAE, saying that it comes in the framework of communication between officials from both countries hailing the distinguished bilateral relations between UAE and Iran.

They also discussed the situation in the Kingdom of Bahrain as Sheikh Mohammed highlighted the Bahraini leadership wisdom in dealing with the events that occurred in the Kingdom of Bahrain recently.

The meeting was also attended by Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Mohammed Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister for Cabinet Affairs, Dr Anwar Mohammed Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Mohammad Reza Fayyad, Ambassador of Iran to UAE.

The cabinet stressed the need for all federal, local and private entities to join efforts and to  work as a one team to make this initiative a success.

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