‘Emiratisation quotas can’t be implemented in some sectors’

DUBAI — The construction sector has called on the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs to consider the type of activity when classifying companies in regard to their compliance with norms, especially the emiratisation rates while hailing the ministry's initiative to streamline the labour market and the performance of companies.

By Eman Al Baik

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Published: Fri 19 Aug 2005, 11:45 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 7:14 PM

Talking to Khaleej Times, representatives of the sector expressed the belief that it is not possible for their companies to maintain even the 2 per cent emiratisation in the light of the dependence on Asian workers.

Adel Ibrahim Al Tamimi, national owner and Managing Director of Future Home Contracting urged the ministry to take into consideration the type of activity and closely study the feasibility of maintaining the required 2 per cent emiratisation rate by this sector.

He believed it would be possible for this sector to maintain the required diversification of culture rate, that is less than 30 per cent of workers from one nationality, to meet the category A requirement. But it would be very difficult to maintain the 2 per cent emiratisation rate because labourers particularly the Asians form the largest portion of the labour force of this sector.

"We cannot induce nationals into the sector's labourers as we do not have labourers among nationals and this sector will continue depending on the Asian labourers," he argued.

Besides there are not sufficient numbers of national engineers. If there were national engineers they would prefer to have their own companies especially that the intensive fieldwork and the low salaries paid to engineers in the private sector do not attract nationals. And, if there were big construction companies, which can afford paying higher salaries, these companies recruit engineers who have experience to manage giant projects, he observed asking "In such an existing scenario how can this sector meet emiratisation percentage?"

Al Tamimi's company was classified in category B despite maintaining a track record clear from any violation. This was because of failing to maintain emiratisation rate despite the fact that he owns and personally administers the company and is fully committed to his business.

"Apart from me, I have two engineers, a secretary, a driver and 32 labourers," he said pointing out, "I cannot offer jobs to nationals in any of the posts."

Iyad Nasif, Public Relation Officer of Fujairah National Construction expressing a similar viewpoint said that the company has 4,700 workers of whom just 92 are in the administration and the rest are labourers. If the company should meet the 2 per cent emiratisation rate, it should have 94 nationals. In this case the company should have all of its administrative staff from nationals, he observed.

The company as well as the National Human Resources Development Authority (Tanmia) will not be able to find nationals qualified to perform the company's different administrative posts including in areas of accounting, engineering and supervisory, he said.

The company can recruit just up to ten nationals in administrative posts. "I approached Tanmia

but I did not receive any response from them," he said.

The two per cent quota cannot be achieved by the construction sector, which depends on labourers. The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs should take into account the special activity of this labour dependent sector when classifying companies based on emiratisation rates, he said adding: "Recruiting a few nationals in administrative posts requires sufficient time for training them."

An administration manager of a bigger construction company requesting anonymity called on the ministry to exempt companies of the construction sector from the emiratisation per cent conditionality which was practically impossible to fulfill.

"We have more 10,000 workers performing different big projects. Since it would be impossible for construction companies to maintain the emiratisation quota, this means they will be classified under either B or C category for which the fees are twice or thrice than those for category A .

This means that the cost for recruitment will be much more higher when compared to category A. Subsequently, construction companies and contractors will increase their bids for projects. The cost of projects will go up and "such trends will have negative implications and effects on all fields related to construction and housing," he noted wondering "Will that benefit investments in the country.?"

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