UAE to focus on northern emirates, jobs
Abu Dhabi, April 4, 2011
The United Arab Emirates is aiming at more infrastructure investment in its less developed northern emirates and creating more jobs for nationals this year, its economy minister said on Monday.
The UAE, which has escaped social unrest unlike some of its neighbours, promised in March to spend $1.6 billion on electricity and water networks in northern emirates, which are a sharp contrast to oil-rich Abu Dhabi and trade hub Dubai.
Asked if the government plans additional measures in the north, Economy Minister Sultan bin Saeed Al-Mansouri said: "Of course. There is real focus on really creating projects in the Fujairah, Ras Al-Khaimah, Ajman, Umm Al-Quwain area."
He did not give details when speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a conference in Dubai but said creating new jobs for locals was also in focus.
"The government is very keen to move on with creating jobs for all of the UAE nationals... In different sectors we need to do something, more and more nationalisation," he said.
Pampered by petrodollars, the UAE's relatively small local population enjoys one of the world's highest incomes per capita, at over $47,000. However, expatriates and Asian workers account for most of the labour force in the second largest Arab economy.
Worried by the spreading turmoil, the government has urged retailers to keep a lid on basic commodity prices, unveiled rice and bread subsidies and raised military pensions by 70 percent. - Reuters