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NCC changed lives for the better: paper

posted on 02/03/2002: 2939 views

It was a turning point in the lives of Abu Dhabi citizens when President His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, as the Ruler of the emirate, issued an Emiri Decree to establish the National Consultative Council (NCC) 31 years ago. The Dubai-based English daily "Gulf News” said in a report published today. The paper said that the decree was issued to give the citizens of the emirate the right to participate in the making and amending of policies that directly affect their lives through the local parliament of the emirate. "Though the emirate is governed by all UAE Federal laws and ruling bodies which apply to every emirate, it is also highlighted by one extra local authority called the National Consultative Council (NCC).” Gulf News said. "The council is represented by different tribes to represent their people in the legislative process of the country. The members receive complaints and hear the problems of their people, put them before the house, and seek remedies.”

It went on to say. "Rakan Maktoum Al Qubaisi, NCC Secretary General, said the council has been discussing all types of issues such as housing, water and electricity, security, health and education, employment as well as matters of interest to expatriates living in the emirate.” The paper quoted Qubaisi as saying. "Sheikh Zayed opened the first NCC session in the capital on October 2, 1971, and it was attended by government officials, sheikhs and the emirate's elite. "Now after 31 years, the lives of the people of Abu Dhabi have changed for the better, thanks to the role played by the NCC in shaping government policies directly concerning the emirate.

"Over the last three decades, the emirate has been transformed from a barren desert land with a hostile climate into a massive garden with all types of modern facilities and basic amenities. The changes over the years have also given both Abu Dhabi and Al Ain the title of the Garden Cities of the Gulf," the paper quoted Al Qubaisi as saying. He said: all these changes have taken place under the leadership of Sheikh Zayed who has given the people of the country a choice of destiny in the form of local bodies such as the NCC. He said the NCC consists of 53 members with a two-year renewable term. Sessions for the council convene every year for eight months, usually commencing in November of every year.

The articles of the Council Act and its bylaw set out the most important jurisdictions. The NCC works closely with Abu Dhabi's Executive Council and forwards them proposals for consideration to improve living standards in the emirate. The NCC discusses general subjects and receives petitions and complaints from citizens, and refers them to the Executive Council, chaired by His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.

Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister, while opening the 14th Legislative Chapter sessions of the council in March last year, said: "The NCC has played a major part in the leadership of the UAE and it is one of the best examples of good leadership. The paper said. "This council's efforts have helped achieve all the hopes of this country and its people, forming capable, firm economic and social platforms, able to form a future civilisation and ensure the future. These achievements are considered great, and embody development and progress."

The NCC was formed to assist the Ruler and Deputy Ruler while executing their tasks in respect to local issues, where Sheikh Zayed selects the members and appoints and accepts their resignations by Emiri decrees. The NCC, after discussing general subjects in the house, also holds meetings with competent department heads and government authorities and expresses wishes and recommendations to the Executive Council. The council also takes part in debates on national issues where they also directly concern the emirate. The council proceedings and its recommendations have also left a great impact on national policies which have proved to be fruitful on both national and emirate levels.

In his inaugural speech for the 14th Legislative Chapter of the NCC, Sheikh Sultan said that the whole core of the UAE works hand in hand to achieve progress and the country looks to further success with the NCC in its new session. The Speaker of the Council, Abdullah Mohammed Al Masoud, paid tribute to the leadership of Sheikh Zayed and Sheikh Khalifa, saying the UAE is on the way toward further progress. "This council is clear evidence of continued effort to take on responsibilities and show unity and cooperation," the paper quoted Al Masoud as saying. He said the council would continue to play its role in the service of the country and will help achieve the aspirations of the people through constructive cooperation with all government departments and other authorities. Al Masoud expressed his appreciation of the officials of the ministries and government departments, who have shown the council sincere cooperation. The council general assembly sessions are currently held at a separate building on the premises of the historic Al Hisn Palace in the capital, with the NCC General Secretariat housed in the Union National Bank building on Salam Street. However, a plan is under way to build a new multi-million dirham landmark, featuring local traditional architecture, to house the Secretariat and the assembly hall in Abu Dhabi's Khubairat.

The construction and budget for the building have already been approved. The new building, apart from the main assembly hall, will have an auditorium, secretariat offices and a huge public library equipped with the latest technology. The assembly hall will also be designed to host international conferences and seminars with the availability of most advanced related technology such as simultaneous translation and video and overhead projector systems. After the completion of the project, the entire secretariat from Al Hisn Palace will move to the new building. In the meantime, the current premises have been extended in 1999 with the acquiring of a full floor of the UNB building on Salam Street. All the departments of the secretariat have already moved from the 12th floor to the seventh. On the 12th floor, a 60-chair meeting hall has been included for the members to hold their preparatory meetings before going to the general assembly.

The secretariat also includes a hall for 35 to hold departmental meetings and attend to visiting delegates. The 12th floor, which earlier housed the entire secretariat, now has only the Speaker's Chamber and the offices of the Secretary General and Legal Advisor and two meeting halls. The two floors are linked with an intercom and computing network system to co-ordinate activities. The secretariat has also been working on the introduction of a new computer network system.

With the new system all the 53 council members will have personal passwords to access a database from NCC branch offices in the emirates, including Al Ain and the meeting hall at Hisn Palace in the capital. The council, headed by the speaker, is also assisted by Rakan Maktoum Al Qubaisi, Secretary General, and his deputy Rashid Salem Al Nuaimi, along with a young team of legal experts and administrative staff. The entire staff of the secretariat includes 98 per cent UAE nationals to achieve emiratisation of jobs in the country. (The Emirates News Agency, WAM)


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