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Accession Day 2002 Feature/Khalifa Committee

posted on 05/08/2002: 2132 views

Abu Dhabi owes much of its landmark urban development to efforts by the Department of Social Services and Commercial Buildings (also known as the Khalifa Committee). According to a report from the Khalifa Committee, issued to mark the 36th anniversary of the accession of President H.H. Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan as Ruler of Abu Dhabi, the Department, which was established in 1981 by HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, has played and continues to play a leading role in Abu Dhabi's impressive development drive.

Since it was established, the Department has undertaken projects at a total cost of more than Dh35 billion, over 6000 projects have been completed, providing about 100,000 housing units. The Department is currently undertaking 37 commercial building projects at a total cost of DH40million. These include 11 projects in Abu Dhabi, 10 in Liwa, nine in Muzairi'a, five in Bainuna and one each in Al Ain and Mussafah. 502 other projects are currently under studies. Work on them will commence as soon as the studies and review were completed. By carrying out major projects with the help of Arab and international firms and utilising the latest architectural technology, the Department has actually become the backbone of the local construction industry and a major player in completing a modern infrastructure in the emirate.

Within the first half of this year, the Department has completed 13 projects at a total cost of DH316million. Out of those projects, 12 are in Abu Dhabi, while the remaining one is in Mussafah. The projects have provided 783 housing units, which helped to create a balance between demand and supply, and to stabilise rent. These projects, coupled with the 112, which were completed last year cost more than DH1.5billion. The projects have also contributed in enhancing the country's infrastructure in the light of its complementary projects like roads, bridges, electricity, water and telecommunications.

To further improve the quality of its service, the Department has computerised its services system, using modern techniques in the preparation and saving of its database. This is aimed at providing improved services to its numerous customers. Another area where the Department has shown great responsibility is the implementation of the job nationalisation policy. The number of UAE national employees is highly on the rise. This is due to the Department's rehabilitation programme for UAE nationals, who are being trained in both technical and administrative fields and later employed by the Department as part of its contribution to the training of national cadres capable of shouldering effectively national responsibilities.

Last year, 417 employees of the Department took part in 57 courses, covering wide range of areas, including technical, administrative and accounting areas. The Department has also provided summer courses to 31 students of various educational levels. In the first half of this year, 84 employees also took part in 25 courses and training programmes related to maintenance administration and customer service techniques, in addition to computer courses. The Department has also computerised its flat searching service to facilitate the search for flats and to save customers time and efforts in searching for suitable flats at the places and buildings of their choices. The revenue collection section has also been modernised to ensure efficiency in following up rent payments to ensure that payments are made at the right time.

The Department has committed itself to providing suitable job opportunities for UAE nationals to enable them discharge their duties well for the progress of the country. The Department's plans centred on two major points. The first is to provide suitable job opportunities for UAE nationals, while the second is to improve their professional skills through training courses. This is to keep them abreast with the needs and requirements of modern times and to enable them stand up to the challenges.

The Department ensures regular maintenance of its buildings to avoid complaints. Where there is any complaint, the Department swiftly sees to it that the fault is rectified to ensure security and safety of the occupants of the building and to enhance the life-span of the building itself. Sheikh Khalifa has yet again made another kind gesture for UAE nationals, beneficiaries of the housing loan, by increasing the ceiling of the interest-free loan from the current ceiling of DH900,000 to DH1.2million. This kind gesture reflects Sheikh Khalifa's commitment to ensure social stability in the country. The Housing Loan Authority was established in 1991 to grant interest-free loans to nationals to build their own houses, as part of Sheikh Zayed's commitment to provide comfortable life for all UAE citizens.

In March, Sheikh Khalifa approved an amount of DH1.461billion to finance the ninth batch of the applicants for the loans. The amount is to be disbursed among 1,230 beneficiaries from Abu Dhabi emirate. The Housing Loan Authority has so far approved nine batches of housing loans, totaling over six billion Dirhams. Beneficiaries of this amount include thousands of UAE nationals from Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and the Western Region of the Abu Dhabi emirate. The Department, which is supervising a number of projects, is currently receiving applications from UAE nationals for review. It will subsequently refer those applications to the Abu Dhabi Executive Council for approval. (The Emirates News Agency, WAM)


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