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Abu Dhabi embarks on measures to carve a place in international arena

posted on 20/11/2005: 738 views

The Abu Dhabi Government plans to focus on efficiency, transparency and outsourcing of non-core services to the private sector and also provide a platform for growth of the emirate's economy to carve a place in the international arena as a developed state, according to Mohammed Al Bowardi, Secretary General of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, ADEC.

In an interview in Emerging Abu Dhabi 2006, a business review of the emirate published by the Oxford Business Group in association with the Mubadala Development Company, Al Bowardi, spoke about the vision of President HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, and Chairman of Abu Dhabi Executive Council.

On the new leadership's vision for the emirate Al Bowardi said that Abu Dhabi is about to start competing on an international level in industry, business, real estate and tourism.

On the reasons behind the decision of Sheikh Khalifa to restructure, the Abu Dhabi Government with fewer departments and few members of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, Al Bowardi said: "There was a feeling that we could do better day-to-day governance by reducing its size which boosts efficiency and saves a great deal of money in the process. We need to remove the bureaucratic obstacles, to modernise, and to get ourselves moving at a faster pace in order to catch up with progress." "Our policy is driven by the search for greater efficiency throughout the process of government.”

"It is a very interesting time for those of us who are involved in the process. We are trying to learn from and emulate the best models of government from around the world and we want to apply the best possible technology to maximise efficiency. We expect to have completed the restructuring process by the end of the year. Then Abu Dhabi will be a completely different place," he said.

Al Bowardi said that Sheikh Mohammed has always been keen on teamwork and that his objective is to get the activities of the local Abu Dhabi departments integrated so that they act as one body.

On Sheikh Mohammed and ADEC's main priorities for 2005, and beyond, Al Bowardi said: "We are seeking to reduce costs and boost efficiency in government in order to take those savings and concentrate them on education and health. Sheikh Khalifa and Sheikh Mohammed believe strongly that education is the backbone of development.

On plans to out-source non-core services in the future,” Al Bowardi said: "Outsourcing will permit the government to achieve its objectives of improving services, increasing efficiency and saving money." " You can measure performance and improve it by encouraging the best service providers." Al Bowardi noted that waste collection in Abu Dhabi city has already been outsourced and that much more will be outsourced and privatised. "

The government will play a supervisory role," he said. "The government should regulate the economy, not manage it. He went on to note that the Government is keen to promote greater transparency.

"Transparency is one of our goals and we hope that the introduction of a greater degree of e-government will help us to ensure transparency. It is one of the most important elements of good governance. If we fail here, we will fail to give investors and the private sector the confidence necessary to participate in Abu Dhabi's future development," Al Bowardi said. "We cannot afford to fail in transparency. It will be the foundation of government performance.." he added. Another important task, he said, has been efforts to improve government payment systems.

On measures to mitigate job losses for nationals due to outsourcing, Al Bowardi maintained that outsourcing will actually create a lot of new employment opportunities for UAE nationals, and expatriates, within the private sector.

Al Bowardi said the government is going to retrain and redeploy many of its national employees. "We have set up training programmes for UAE nationals and are taking steps to improve education for the younger generation so they match the requirements of the private sector and are able to compete in it." He concluded by saying: "Change has been long awaited in Abu Dhabi. As each generation grows older, new ideas need to be introduced so the country can climb the ladder of progress. In Abu Dhabi, people are open to new ideas and are keen to move forward... The time for planning is over, it is time for action." (The Emirates News Agency, WAM)


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