Man who set RAK on the high road to progress

RAS AL KHAIMAH — His organisational acumen, dedication and boundless love for his country and people place him among the inspired generation of UAE nationals who have pledged their youth to the cause of the nation.

By Sadiq A. Salam

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Published: Fri 7 Jul 2006, 12:09 PM

Last updated: Mon 17 Jul 2023, 2:56 PM

With novel and clear-cut perceptions about ways and means of uplifting the country, both socially and economically, Najeeb Al Shamsi is indeed an icon of the new age.

"I think the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah has achieved great strides in terms of economic and social development over the last few years thanks to the visionary leadership of Shaikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, RAK Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler," Al Shamsi, the outgoing director of RAK Economic Department (RED), told Khaleej Times.

Shaikh Saud, on his part, observed: "His openness and frankness as also the courage to involve the media in all issues of concern to the people have made the people of RAK, nationals and expatriates alike, to receive the news of his resignation with great sadness. Al Shamsi thinks there is a lot to be done to develop the emirate. We have to unlock the way for others to have their say in contributing to nation-building."

RAK enjoys immense untapped potential in terms of natural and human resources, its geographical location and a very solid industrial base, Al Shamsi observed. "These factors, coupled with a far-sighted leadership at the helm, would eventually place RAK among the leading emirates in the country," Al Shamsi, who has a BSc in economics from UAE University, added.

"To lure more investors, we must also develop the emirate's infrastructures like roads, bridges, water, electricity and sewerage systems, besides airports and seaports which, I think, are part and parcel of the ambitious and futuristic strategy of Shaikh Saud," said Al Shamsi who is also considered one of the staunchest advocates of the UAE labour market nationalisation policy.

"Nationalisation should not be for the sake of nationalisation but we have to adopt a very scientific and systematic approach to address this crucial issue," he said, adding, "In other words, we have to identify suitable candidates, taking into account abilities and qualifications, when looking at jobs.

"Since he came to office three years ago, Al Shamsi steadily implemented a strategy to nationalise the emirate's labour market, starting from banning expatriates working in typing and xerox shops and recruitment agencies to fish markets. "We found that these businesses have great financial returns that might help low-income nationals to start investing in more profitable areas," Shaikh Saud added.

To a question on the performance of locally-owned print media establishments in RAK, he said, "They are doing a very good job but I think it is high time for RAK to have its own media facilities which further its national objectives."

The outspoken Al Shamsi, who is one of the founders of the UAE Writers Union, finds no contradiction between his pursuits as an economist and his inclination for creative writing. "Studying economy and working in this field gave me a very good opportunity to observe the effects and impacts of economic growth on the people's life from a very different perspective than I employ in my creative writing," he said. Al Shamsi has 14 books on economics, culture and folklore to his credit, four of them being plays.

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