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‘Hike pay to attract more nationals’
By Matovu Abdallah Twaha February 13, 2013
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DUBAI: UAE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Presidential Affairs Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan has said that increasing salaries for locals by the private sector will attract nationals because “salaries are higher in government employment yet working hours are fewer.

“Don’t think that I am going to ask for reduction of your salaries,” he told the audience on the second and last day of the Government Summit at Madinat Jumeirah Hotel in Dubai. “The private sector should increase salaries to attract more nationals.”

The presentation was attended by Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and a number of ministers who later also featured on the panel and fielded questions from the citizens about the services rendered.

Sheikh Mansour said the government aims at establishing an enabling environment to attract locals into the private sector.

“We have asked the Ministry of Labour to moderate working hours to make a balance between the private and government sectors.”

According to the Director of Service Centre at the MoL, Saif Al Suwaidi, “Our duty adjustment is compatible with the Federal Government’s human resources setting.”

On the first day of the two-day summit that looked like entire government gurus brought into a single football pitch, Sheikh Mohammed also called upon the private sector, which has benefited greatly from this country, to extend a helping hand in the process of Emiratisation, even if a tiny percentage, to make a contribution to growth of this country.

On the second day, Sheikh Mansour emphasised the need of private sector to work with the government. “There are about two million job opportunities in the private sector which we want to qualify the nationals to occupy. Actually this is a modest figure, the number is higher,” he said.

“We want the locals to be the ambassadors of this country in both the government and private sector.”

After a 15-minute presentation, which was interspersed with quotations aired on screen from Sheikh Zayed and President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Sheikh Mansour spent about 40 minutes answering questions recorded from the public.

Asked what the government should focus on in the near future, he answered by repeating what Sheikh Mohammed said earlier: “First, nationals; second, nationals and third, nationals,” attracting a round of applause from Sheikh Mohammed and the audience.

He pointed out that one of the best Emiratisation programmes was Absher, which is supervised by his ministry.

The Absher initiative is based on four strategic pillars: job creation for the UAE youth citizens, counselling and vocational guidance, training and development, and encouraging the UAE citizens to work in the private sector.

“Our target with Absher is absorbing 20,000 locals in five years but the number may increase to 30,000.”

On challenges faced by the government, he said: “The more we grow, the more responsibility we have especially in coordinating local governments, the departments and citizens. We have to be closer to the locals.”

He cautioned the nationals against being duped into taking up loans easily.

“When you’re taking loans, you’re made to sign a number of documents, but the bottomline is: loans are a bad practice which you should shun.”

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