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New council to strike demographic balance.

Byline: Samir SalamaAssociate Editor

Abu Dhabi Striving for demographic balance, the UAE has set up a Federal Demographics Council, led by Lieutenant General Shaikh Saif Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, WAM reported yesterday.

A decision to this effect has been approved by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. According to the decision the Emiratisation Council will be merged into the new body.

Shaikh Mohammad earlier met with Shaikh Saif and Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, at the Presidential Palace, to discuss national demographic initiatives, mandate and mission of the new council.

The council aims to strike a balance in the demographic structure in the country, and "deepen the spirit of loyalty of UAE citizens to their leadership and homeland."


An advanced construction technique that would call, for example, for a significantly fewer number of labourers and a scheme under which expatriate students are allowed to take up part-time jobs were among initiatives taken earlier to better shape the demographic structure of the country.

The new council will review demographic policies in order to develop national demographic strategies and initiatives through coordination with other stakeholders. It will also gather information, conduct demographic studies and research and establish a database on the demographic breakdown of the UAE.

It will coordinate with local departments to ensure a unified policy to address demographic issues and maintain synergy between the sustainable development and demographic policies.

Latest studies showed Emiratis make up 16.5 per cent of the population.

Members of the Federal National Council (FNC) called for political decisions to address this challenge.

"The demographic and Emiratisation issues require political decisions by the highest authorities and these decisions must be binding on all public and private institutions and businesses. The Cabinet had taken several decisions to address the demographic and emiratisation issues, but they were not fully enforced," Dr Abdul Rahim Al Shaheen, a member from Ras Al Khaimah, said.

Correcting imbalance

Ahmad Bin Shabib, First Deputy Speaker of the FNC, said the demographic problem and emiratisation are two sides of the same coin, so the decision to merge the two councils was perfectly good.

"The Government is making serious efforts to correct the demographic imbalance while taking care not to upset development projects and keeping the national interest paramount," he said.

Dr Sultan Al Moadin, a member from Fujairah, expressed hope the council will work out strategies and solutions to the demographic and emiratisation issues.

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:7UNIT
Date:Nov 11, 2009
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