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His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai chaired the UAE Cabinet’s meeting at Qasr Al Watan, Abu Dhabi, in the presence of His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice President, Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of the Presidential Court; H.H. Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, Deputy Prime Minister, and Minister of Finance; and H.H. Lt. General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said: "I chaired at Qasr Al Watan, Abu Dhabi, the UAE Cabinet’s first meeting of the year 2024. We reviewed the work we accomplished during the year 2023. We also approved the Cabinet’s work plan for 2024, which will focus on implementing the national priorities announced by my brother President of the UAE His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan on the Union Day. We gave our directives to all federal government entities to implement governmental plans, initiatives and projects that serve the national priorities announced by His Highness.”
His Highness added: “During the meeting, we reviewed what was achieved in various national sectors during 2023, mainly regarding our top priority sectors: the UAE nationals’ housing and the Emiratisation of employment.
In the housing, more than 4,300 decisions were issued regarding UAE nationals’ housing support, with a total worth of AED3.2 billion. The Emiratis’ home-ownership rate, including all national housing programmes, grew to 90%, which is the second highest home-ownership rate in the world.
In the Emiratisation sector, Nafis programme, thanks to the follow up of my brother Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed, successfully increased the total number of the UAE nationals working in the private sector to approximatively 92,000. And yet, these two sectors will remain at the centre of our continuous follow up.”
His Highness said: “In the economy sector, our non-oil GDP witnessed a significant growth scoring a rate of 5.9% during the first nine months of the year only. The UAE was ranked first globally in more than 215 indexes related to development, economy and human capital, according to international reports.”
His Highness added: “During the Cabinet’s meeting, we reviewed the accomplishments of the legislative plan of 2023. A total of 73 federal laws were issued in 2023, including 10 laws issued for the first time in the country as part of the legislative system, with the participation of 1,500 specialists along with 50 governmental teams. Additionally, the Cabinet approved 60 national policies and strategies and 62 international agreements. Therefore, the year 2023 was, in terms of the legislative achievements, the most active year in the country’s history.
His Highness concluded by saying: “The year 2023 was exceptional, under the leadership of my brother Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, along with his deputies and brothers. It was a year during which the UAE witnessed unprecedented economic growth, massive global political presence, scientific advancement, new educational and healthcare developments. The year 2024 will be a new opportunity to achieve further development achievements with greater momentum in all sectors.”
During the meeting, the Cabinet reviewed a report on the outcome of its work during the year 2023, featuring the main strategies, policies, legislation and resolutions issued by the Cabinet during the last 12 months. His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid assured that the Federal Government’s priorities for the year 2024 will remain consistent with the general directions of the Union declared by President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, on the 52nd Union Day, which includes: consolidating the characteristics of the Emirati identity locally and globally; the UAE is constantly exploring novelty and creativity; We rely on education to achieve progress, as our position in the future will be determined by how progressed we are in the sector of education; Sustainability will continue to be part of our culture, practices and the lifestyle in our country.
1030 government resolutions in various key sectors
During 2023, the UAE Cabinet and the Ministerial Development Council held 23 meetings, issued 1030 government resolutions in various key sectors. The increase in resolutions number exceeded 100% compared to the year 2014. Main outcomes of the Cabinet’s efforts in the year 2023 included the issuance of 60 national policies and strategies, 73 federal laws, more than 125 executive regulations and resolutions and the signing of 62 international agreements.
The UAE nationals housing and supporting Emiratisation programmes are top priorities
The housing of the UAE nationals has always been a top priority for the UAE government. The Cabinet has issued new policies and initiatives to raise the housing aid for Emiratis. As a result, the Sheikh Zayed Housing Programme issued more than 4,300 housing aid decisions in 2023, compared to 1,241 decisions in 2021. The increase rate surpassed 250%, with a total value exceeding AED3.2 billion, compared to AED1 billion in 2021.
Since their launch until 2023, federal and local governments housing programmes have provided more than 180 thousand housing aid with a total value exceeding AED212 billion. Consequently, the percentage of the UAE nationals who own their house reached 90%.
The federal government continued its efforts in supporting Emiratisation programmes. Under the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice President, Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of the Presidential Court; and the follow-up of H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Chairman of the Education and Human Resources Council (EHRC), new policies and resolutions were issued in 2023 supporting Emiratisation programmes and objectives.
These programmes and efforts led to a significant increase in the number of UAE nationals joining the labour market estimated by more than 150%, since the launch of Nafis to date, while the total number of Emiratis employees in the private sector surpassed 92,000 employees.
Additionally, the government continued to improve the efficiency of the labour market by launching the Emirates Labour Market Award and adopting the Optional Alternative Voluntary End of Service System.
Key initiatives in transport, infrastructure and space sectors
To enhance the competitiveness of the industrial sector and encourage domestic industries, the Cabinet issued important initiatives. To name few: “Made in UAE” label initiative, the Industrial Technology Transformation Index (ITTI), a UAE system for unmanned aerial vehicles (drones), reducing fees for industrial companies registered in the National In-Country Value Programme, issuing a variety of standard technical regulations for key industries and enhancing the quality of products manufactured in the UAE.
Since the UAE has set foot in planet Mars, the Cabinet issued many programmes to enhance leadership in the space sector, mainly: launching the Emirates Mission to the Asteroid Belt, establishing the National Space Fund, joining the international cooperation in the peaceful use of outer space, and regulating permits for space-related activities and space resources. The Cabinet also issued a set of policies to enhance the country’s readiness to tackle the challenges in cyberspace.
62 international agreements and key global headquarters based in the UAE
To maintain and strengthen the UAE’s leading position globally, the Cabinet ratified or signed 62 international agreements related to economy, finance, justice, security and defence, aviation and humanitarian action sectors. The UAE became the host to headquarters of many regional and international organizations, including: the regional hub of the Islamic Development Bank Group, the regional office of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.
The Cabinet also approved the UAE joining the IMF’s Resilience and Sustainability Trust and the Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust (PRGT).
In government affairs, the UAE Cabinet approved 54 recommendations submitted by the Federal National Council linked to regulating private higher education sector, sustainability of electricity and water services, regulating labour market, volunteering work, as well as supporting and developing sports sector.
Significant growth rates in GDP
The non-oil GDP (at constant prices) of the first nine months of the year 2023 witnessed a significant growth rate of 5.9% compared to the same period of the previous year.
Transport and storage activities topped the growth at a rate of 12.1% compared to the corresponding period a year ago. This was attributed to the significant increase in passenger numbers; During the period under review, the country’s airports achieved its highest passengers’ trafic.
Accommodation and food service activities ranked second; It grew by 11.6%, influenced by the growing numbers of visitors to tourist destinations and international events hosted by the UAE.
Ranked first globally in 215 international competitive indexes
The joint domestic efforts, as well as the coordination between federal and local governments entities, together with the private sector organisations, have contributed to strengthening the UAE’s world-class leadership. Consequently, the country was ranked first globally in more than 215 international competitive indexes in 2023, compared to 186 indexes, in 2022.
Additionally, the UAE achieved outstanding performance regionally and came top of the lists in the region in more than 364 international competitive indexes in 2023.
The UAE became one of the top 10 countries globally in more than 604 international indexes based on international competitiveness reports.
The implementation of the UAE’s national legislative plan for the year 2023
The Cabinet announced the implementation of the UAE’s national legislative plan for the year 2023, which was marked by the issuance of 73 federal laws in various sectors, which included simplifying government procedures, along with supporting the ease of doing business in the UAE. The laws facilitated benefiting from services related to many key sectors and strengthened coordination among federal and local government entities. A total of 1,500 specialists and 50 government teams joined forces to implement the directives of the wise leadership to modernize the legislative structure in the UAE.
The new and updated legislation support efforts to shift into a flexible legislative framework whose direct impact on services is remarkable in the community, enhance government development efforts in all sectors, and eliminates duplication of roles, responsibilities and tasks.
The Cabinet also launched the indicator of “Implementation of Laws” issued by the State, and reviewed the results of government entities’ implementation of the laws issued by the State during the period 2020-2022. The Cabinet gave its directives to submit periodic reports on achievements, challenges, and the impact of these laws in achieving its objectives.
The legislative updates included the issuance of 10 laws, completely new in the country. To name a few: law on commerce through modern means of technology, law establishing the Emirates Drug Corporation, law regulating the use of the human genome, law regulating the Federal Genetic Fingerprint Database.
Updates on the work progress in GCC joint economic work
During the meeting, the Cabinet reviewed updates on the work progress in GCC joint economic work in the year 2022. The total value of trade exchange between the UAE and the GCC countries reached AED287 billion. The UAE’s exports to the Arab Gulf countries reached AED80 billion, marking an increase of 12% compared to the year 2021. The country’s imports from these countries grew to AED70 billion, with an increase of 25% compared to the previous year.
The total number of shareholders from GCC countries investing in the UAE joint stock companies surpassed 300,000. The total cumulative number of licences surpassed 33,000 licenses granted to citizens of the GCC countries practicing economic activities in the UAE during the year 2022.
Results of the economic indicators of cultural and creative industries
The Cabinet also reviewed the results of the economic indicators of cultural and creative industries for the year 2021. The sector achieved significant growth that surpassed 22% compared to the previous period, and the added value of cultural and creative industries activities reached more than AED61 billion. The number of employees in the sector surpassed 400,000 employees in 2021. The number of establishments operating in the sector surpassed 38,000.
In legislative affairs, the Cabinet approved the issuance of new federal legislation, including the executive regulations of the Federal Law No. (4) of 2023 Regarding Sports, which aims to foster sporting role models by discovering and empowering sports talent, and empowering and motivating community members to practice sports and take part in competitions.
The Cabinet also approved issuing regulatory decisions regarding trust services and approved trust services, as well as issuing technical regulations on the energy efficiency standards and labeling for electrical appliances.
Three international agreements
In international affairs, the Cabinet approved the ratification of an agreement between the UAE government and the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Albania, regarding the joint cooperation in security and combating terrorism. The second signed agreement brings together the UAE government and the government of the Republic of Kazakhstan, regarding the establishment of a wind power plant. The third and last agreement signed was a collaboration between the UAE Cybersecurity Council and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), with the aim of fostering a secure cyber environment.
Three important international events will be hosted in the UAE. This is what the Cabinet approved in the meeting. The country will host the Second Gulf Metrology Forum, the thirteenth session of the Annual Investment Meeting (AIM), and the sixth Applied Linguistics and Language Teaching International Conference Exhibition.
In government affairs, the Cabinet approved a policy on the ownership of human resources data in the federal government, and the budgets of the Emirates Investment Authority and the General Pension and Social Security Authority (GPSSA) for the fiscal year 2024. It also reviewed the Emirates Investment Authority’s work report of the first nine months of the year 2023, and the latest updates on the development of the modern agriculture sector in the UAE.
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