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Abu Dhabi govt restructuring to spur efficiency

(Wam) / 6 March 2006

ABU DHABI — Under the directives of His Highness Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Abu Dhabi, and Shaikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, the first phase of government restructuring plan was announced yesterday with the aim of boosting efficiency and enhancing government productivity.

Through the Abu Dhabi Government Restructuring Committee — formed in February 2005 to lead and drive the change initiatives — ambitious initial changes have been announced.

Long due diligence

Aimed at delivering better government services, the changes come at the end of a year with the long due diligence and planning process that commenced with the committee’s formation.

“The emirate of Abu Dhabi recognises the imperatives of being responsive to social needs and to supporting Abu Dhabi’s long-term economic and social strategies. The restructuring has been designed to not only create an evolved form of government but also to help build a more vibrant economy that attracts and promotes private sector investment,” said Shaikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi government Restructuring Committee.

The restructuring programme is slated to be rolled out over a three-year period. The first-year long due diligence phase involved defining a clear vision for the government of Abu Dhabi and a new government-wide organisational structure and governance model — based on lessons learned from international best practices. With this phase now complete, the government has announced the commencement of phase II and with it five areas of significant initial change.

Array of tasks

By virtue of Law No. 2 for 2006, the General Secretariat of the Executive Council has been mandated with a greater array of tasks and responsibilities in order to better deliver against the council’s remit. According to the law, the Executive Council shall have a general secretariat, headed by a secretary-general. The secretariat shall enjoy financial and administrative independence and full power to carry out all legal actions.

The law sets out the general secretariat’s tasks, including proposing public policies and strategies for the emirate and submitting them to the council for approval, conducting studies and research on the emirate’s future needs, monitoring and evaluating departments’ performance and issuing the emirate’s official gazette.

Executive Affairs Authority

The Executive Affairs Authority has been created by Law No. 3 for 2006 to oversee, coordinate, and execute various projects as mandated by the chairman of the Executive Council. The authority will also analyse and advise on public policy matters of importance to Abu Dhabi.

The Amiri Decree No. 4 for 2006 has appointed Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak as chairman of the Executive Affairs Authority. He shall also be member of the Executive Council.

Department of Transport

Law No. 4 for 2006 stipulates that a new Department of Transport (DoT) shall be established and mandated with the regulation of the civil aviation and sea port sectors.

The law provides for consolidation of the department of civil aviation and the sea ports authority under the new department of transport to enhance integration across these transport-related sectors and to improve internal efficiency.

New corporations

By virtue of the Amiri decree Nos. 5 and 6 for 2006, two new corporations have been created to take operational responsibility of both the Abu Dhabi seaports and airports. They are Abu Dhabi Ports Company and Abu Dhabi Airports Company, respectively.

Dh500m authority

The creation of separate corporations to run the airport and sea port operations is intended to allow the government to focus more on sector planning and regulation while encouraging the participation of the private sector.

Abu Dhabi Airports Company will be established with a paid up capital of Dh500 million, divided into 50 million shares, each with a nominal value of Dh10.

The company is mandated to operate and maintain airports facilities, communications, emergency and rescue equipment, runways, aircraft hangars, ramps, radios, pilotage, meteorology and control towers.

It shall also oversee airport services including passenger check-in, baggage loading, airfield services, catering and other services.

Department of Transport (DoT) will be the competent authority which regulates flying operations over the emirate’s territories, landing and departures, air transport rules, baggage and mail.

The company will be run by a board of directors whose chairman and members will be appointed through a resolution by the chairman of the Executive Council.

The company will be incorporated for a renewable term of 100 years, starting from the date of its incorporation act, to be issued by the minister of economy.

New appointments

The Amiri Decree No. 7 for 2006 orders appointment of Shaikh Saeed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Shaikh Ahmed bin Saif Al Nahyan as members of the executive council.

The Amiri decree No. 8 for 2006 orders appointment of Dr Jawan Salem Al Dhaheri as chairman of Municipalities and Agriculture Department, Khalfan Ghaith Al Muhaibi as chairman of the Department of Transport (DoT), and Rashid Mubarak Al Hajeri as chairman of the Civil Service Department.

In order to reduce the fragmentation and duplication of housing and related activities across multiple government entities, the Law No. 5 for 2006 was issued.

Department of Finance

According to the law, functions of the existing Department of Social Services and Commercial Buildings have been transferred to the Department of Finance (DoF). The existing employees of the Department of Social Services and Commercial Buildings will also be immediately integrated into the DoF.

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