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I let accomplishments speak for themselves: Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid

posted on 05/12/2006: 866 views



Life is a continuous process of learning and there is nothing called impossible if there is persistence and vision... this is the valuable lesson His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has learnt from the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and his father, the late Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum.



During an interview with a local Arabic daily, Sheikh Mohammed said oil revenues have not been the key driver of the current economic development being witnessed by the UAE.



"Since several years, oil has only constituted five per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Dubai... The breakthrough in development of Dubai took off while prices of oil ranged between US$15 and US$18 per barrel... no doubt, high oil prices provide the elements of progress with additional strength, but we have learnt good lessons from the experience of early 1980s when oil prices plummeted to US$10 a barrel. Today the UAE economy is less vulnerable to oil price fluctuations because the share of oil in the UAE's GDP has dropped to only 27 per cent,” said Sheikh Mohammed.



He added that he was satisfied with the achievements of his 10-month-old government, urging the media to assess its success. "I don't like to elaborate on the government achievements, I let accomplishments speak for themselves,” he said.



Sheikh Mohammed attributed his leadership traits to the two visionary leaders, the late Sheikh Zayed and the late Sheikh Rashid.



"I have learnt from them that the impossible is nothing more than a delusion living in the mind of the weak and the hesitant... I have learnt from them that life is a continuous process of learning and knowledge has no bounds,” he said.



Replying to a question about international organisations' reports on labour issues in the UAE, Sheikh Mohammed said, "The progress made by the UAE, its standing and fame put the country under the focus of the international microscope, including human rights organisations.



"We deal with reports by these organisations with complete objectivity and we thank them for alerting us about something or a problem they address objectively. However, what is not objective and is laden with allegations, we work to put it right through contacts and invite responsible agencies to visit the country and approach competent officials to see the facts on the ground, not as imagined by others.”



Labourers

He described some reports on the condition of labourers in the UAE as distorting facts and baseless. He said the latest report was based on interviews with 60 labourers, articles taken from papers issued in English, various incidents and cases and it generalised on the whole situation in the country and this "is not acceptable in every market in the world including the UAE”.

In the UAE, he added, violations and work injuries could take place, some contractors could face financial woes and some companies could break down, but this affects less than one in 1,000.



"I have read an article in Newsweek that victims of medical mistakes in the US have crossed 100,000 deaths and around 2.5 million suffered some sort of damage, but that doesn't mean medical services in the US, which are the most advanced in the world, must be branded as poor.”



"Yes, some reports are prejudiced against the UAE and most of them are influenced by foregone stances on Islam and Muslims,” he remarked.



Sheikh Mohammed said these reports focus their attack on the UAE even though similar working conditions prevail in other countries in the region because the UAE is successful and has set a model of success in development and openness.



Education

Regarding education, Sheikh Mohammed said the process of reforming and upgrading the education system had taken off, but he acknowledged that the core problem lies with the lack of a long-term applicable strategic plan.



"It is best to draw up strategic plans for educational policy, but as the proverb goes, ‘Devil is hidden in details'. The message of education is learning for outputs related to the local community, love for their homeland and its values, respect for duties and rights, an appetite for knowledge and being capable of decision-making.”



On development in Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed said, "All sectors are catching up with progress except for two... rents of residential units and traffic congestion. But with the completion of projects in these two sectors, there will be no more traffic bottlenecks and rents will be stable.”



With regard to the economy, Sheikh Mohammed said, "We in the UAE are involved in an economic restructuring adjustment. In the knowledge-based economy, comprehensive services account for over 70 per cent of the GDP and if you compare components of the UAE economy with those of the advanced ones, you will know the magnitude of the effort we should exert to complete the restructuring process.



"The good news is that we are taking the right direction in the economic restructuring and we will make more than the projected estimates,” he said.



Speaking about the FNC elections, Sheikh Mohammed said the interaction between the government institutions and citizens would ensure the success of the historic experiment. (Khaleej Times)

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