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Mon 4 Apr 2011 06:46 PM

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UAE eyes poorer northern emirates for infrastructure, jobs

Economy minister Sultan bin Saeed al-Mansouri says there is 'real focus' for government

UAE eyes poorer northern emirates for infrastructure, jobs
The coastline of Fujairah. The emirate has seen a fraction of the development that took place in its richer neighbours Dubai and Abu Dhabi

The UAE is aiming at more infrastructure investment in its less developed northern emirates and creating more jobs for nationals this year, its economy minister said on Monday.

The UAE, which has escaped social unrest unlike nearby Bahrain, Oman and Yemen, promised in March to spend $1.6 billion on electricity and water networks in northern emirates, which are a sharp contrast to oil-rich Abu Dhabi and trade hub Dubai.

Asked if the government plans additional measures in the north, Economy Minister Sultan bin Saeed al-Mansouri said: "Of course. There is real focus on really creating projects in the Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Ajman, Umm al-Quwain area."

He did not give details when speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a conference in Dubai but said creating new jobs for locals was also in focus.

"The government is very keen to move on with creating jobs for all of the UAE nationals... In different sectors we need to do something, more and more nationalisation," he said.

Pampered by petrodollars, the UAE's relatively small local population enjoys one of the world's highest incomes per capita, at over $47,000.

However, expatriates and Asian workers account for most of the labour force in the second largest Arab economy.

Worried by the spreading turmoil, the government has urged retailers to keep a lid on basic commodity prices, unveiled rice and bread subsidies and raised military pensions by 70 percent.

Potential unrest would most likely come from five northern emirates with the 2009 unemployment rate among locals estimated at as much as 20.6 percent in Fujairah, well above the national average of 14 percent, a government labour survey showed.

Ras al-Khaimah, one of the northern emirates, has seen small protests in past years but they were quickly crushed by Abu Dhabi security forces. The emirate sits on the Strait of Hormuz, through which 40 percent of the world's seaborne oil passes.

Hana 8 years ago

These news were published last month and it is said that it will be done on high urgency with no delay.. one month already finished and this news are still the same and it haven’t moved one step ahead!!!
General talks requires plans for implementation… if there is no clear plan until now .. I don’t expect to see any actual project in the near future.
He can at least give hint about the current status such as “a dedicated committee is formed to work on the plan” and so on!!!

They killed our happiness as usual.

Note: “our” means northern emirates people.