UAE targets 65pc GDP growth in 7 years
Abu Dhabi, January 15, 2014
* Move to increase Emiratisation
* Country to have best infrastructure
* Steps to cut waiting period of housing
The UAE will achieve rapid growth with the launch of new projects and initiatives and increase the number of citizens employed in the private sector tenfold by 2021, declared HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai.
Launching the UAE National Agenda for the next seven years, viewed as an extension to UAE Vision 2021, in Abu Dhabi yesterday, he said: "Over the next 7 years, we are set to increase the gross national income per capita by 65 per cent, and to make the UAE the safest place in the world, in addition to achieving a four-minute response time for all emergency calls. Another objective is to make the UAE the top country in smart-phone governmental services."
Sheikh Mohammed said: "Our goal is to increase the Emiratisation in the private sector tenfold. The government will enforce a number of measures if there is not enough incentive for working in the private sector," Sheikh Mohammed said, quoted by state news agency WAM.
Fewer than 15 per cent of the UAE's roughly 9 million people are estimated to be local citizens; most of the rest are foreign workers. More than two-thirds of the UAE citizens in employment work in the public sector, the International Monetary Fund says.
Sheikh Mohammed did not elaborate on what steps the government might take. Officials have been considering a range of options, including changing labour laws to make private sector employment more attractive for UAE citizens, and imposing a tax on foreign workers' remittances of money to their home countries, which could make it more expensive to hire foreigners.
"We have achieved so much over the past years under the leadership of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and through thousands of local and federal work teams under one umbrella and leadership. Hence, the UAE has reached the first rank in many fields. It has launched major projects,and has won bids to host major international events," he said.
He added the UAE has proven that its economy is one of the strongest economies, as it is growing in a way that exceeded all expectations. Besides, Emiratis have shown that they are the happiest people across the globe, according to United Nations reports.
"In the name of Sheikh Khalifa and my name, we thank the thousands of teams who exerted their utmost efforts to score the achievements. But we have not yet reached our destination, ambition and vision. In the next seven years we will have to put in lots of work. Development will be rapid, projects and initiatives will be launched, and great achievements and challenges lie ahead. If work of Emirati teams was rated at 100 per cent in previous years, we would make it 200 per cent," he said.
The launch of the agenda was attended by over 300 Emirati officials, representing 90 local and federal institutions who had worked on the agenda, which covers the sectors of education, health, economy, police, housing, infrastructure and government services.
Regarding education, Sheikh Mohammed said all public schools and curricula will be transformed into smart learning. Governmental investments in nurseries will be increased in the light of the important role they play.
On the health sector, Sheikh Mohammed assigned the Ministry of Health, in conjunction with all health authorities nationwide, to accredit all public and private hospitals in accordance with the world class standards in terms of services and quality of medical cadres, noting that any unaccredited hospital would not be allowed to operate in the UAE after 2021.
Regarding housing, he said, the objective of the national agenda is to shorten the waiting period for housing applications from 10 years to two years, noting that this period has already been reduced to five years. "It is a world record time for provision of houses to youth planning to establish families."
On Emiratisation, Sheikh Mohammed said the year 2013 was declared as the year for tawteen (Emiratisation), adding that many results had been achieved so far in this respect. "Our goal is to increase the Emiratisation in the private sector tenfold. The government will enforce a number of measures if there is not enough incentive for working in the private sector."
He said the UAE is looking forward to the best infrastructure in the world over land, air and sea, as well as becoming the best in the world in the ease of doing business.
He said he is very optimistic about achieving the national agenda, as the seven emirates will work together as one team to ensure that the national agenda is achieved. - Wam and reuters