VP marks anniversary of his accession by thanking Shaikh Khalifa and his achievements
The UAE has laid the foundation for outstanding achievements in all areas, as it continues its blessed federal march under the leadership of the President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, had announced that he wanted to mark the anniversary of his accession, today, by giving thanks to the President, Shaikh Khalifa.
The “Thank You Khalifa” initiative aims to express thanks and appreciation to Shaikh Khalifa.
The country now occupies a prominent place among the most modern advanced countries in the world.
These achievements were accomplished as a result of the wise leadership of Shaikh Khalifa in close collaboration with Shaikh Mohammed; Their Highnesses the Supreme Council Members and Rulers of the Emirates; and General Shaikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces and other Crown Princes. The sincere efforts of citizens and their absolute confidence in their leadership was confirmed by the Global Competitiveness Report 2013-2014 of the World Economic Forum, in which the UAE was ranked third in terms of high confidence in political leadership, among 148 countries in the world. The UAE also topped the list of Arab countries and was ranked 14th worldwide in the UN’s World Happiness and Satisfaction second survey, announced in 2013.
The late Shaikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan accomplished with wisdom the nation’s establishment phase with all its challenges, and took the UAE from zero into an era of progress, raising the nation in record time to be among the ranks of developed countries.
Shaikh Khalifa had previously stressed that the nation’s great achievements, the peace and tranquility the country enjoys today, are the fruits of the long and tedious march, hard work and perseverance led by the UAE’s great leader, the late Shaikh Zayed.
President Khalifa is one of the historical leaders known for devoting over 45 years in the service of the homeland and the citizens.
Shaikh Khalifa gained rich historical experience from spending his life close to his father, the founder of the state, during the various phases of national work. In an interview in 1990, Shaikh Khalifa said: “My father was the teacher from whom I learnt everything, following his path and being inspired by his adulthood, authentic values and patience.”
In his speech on the occasion of the 34th National Day, Shaikh Khalifa said: “Considering the developments in our region, which is now witnessing significant transformations and reforms, the years ahead in our blessed march of progress require a bigger role for the Federal National Council by empowering it to be an authority that will provide great support and guidance for the executive arm of the government … this would be done by ensuring a more participatory process and the entrenchment of “Shura” (consultations) policy. Through a gradual, organised course, we have decided to re-energise the role of the FNC by electing half of its members through councils for each emirate and appointing the other half.”
Shaikh Khalifa launched the ‘Future Strategy’ in 2007 and the initiative of the ‘National Identity’. He has said that the UAE would stay on the course of democracy to ensure greater participation and empowerment in the Federal National Council.
“We remain committed to continuing our democratic change until we achieve all planned goals through paving the way for and offering the chance for more participation, and through enhancing the role of the FNC as a legislative and monitoring power.”
To keep in line with this trend and to support it, Shaikh Khalifa maintained: “We call for the implementation of a national programme that aims to strengthen our identity and deepen the values of belonging and of citizenship, as well as providing the required conditions in society that reflect our country as an example of an open modern society whose values are consistent with our beliefs and our heritage.”
Shaikh Khalifa also called for a programme that sets out a clear vision of the objectives of the UAE’s experiment in elections and associated mechanisms, and for an expansion of the authority of the FNC.
He made it clear that shedding light on future strategies and visions does not mean that “we should overlook the present with its challenges and problems.”
Shaikh Khalifa pledged, in his second term, to continue the implementation of ambitious new strategies to promote the political, economic, social and cultural empowerment programmes of development which he launched in his first term.
Shaikh Khalifa underscored that the transformations experienced by the UAE economy do not come from a vacuum, but through the regulations and standards to establish a new economic model, based on the philosophy and practices of community-based components.
“We would like to assure everyone that our country is stronger and better off, since our economy is fine and our society enjoys welfare. The global financial crisis in its severity will not be a reason for hesitation or retreat, not a justification to lead us to despair or inaction.”
Shaikh Khalifa has stressed that the government was working hard to achieve social development, to improve quality of life and to realise its developmental goals through a comprehensive national vision that aims to provide excellent educational standards, adequate housing and world class healthcare services.
“Keeping the Union’s spirit alive is something that can be achieved through the empowerment of the UAE citizens who are the top national priority and the focus of the vision for the future that guides all strategies and policies that the government will adopt, in all sectors, over the next ten years,” said Shaikh Khalifa.
“Empowerment of the citizen is our project for the next 10 years of the Union — a project through which we will lay the ground for a more confident and strong national personality and whose driving force and cornerstone will be an active Emirati who is proud of his stable and coherent family and of his well-founded, dynamic community where security and justice prevail, where the values of voluntary work and of initiative are highly recognised, with a forward-thinking, modern learning system, advanced, high quality health services, a knowledge-based sustainable and diversified economy, an integrated infrastructure, a sustainable environment, well-conserved natural resources and, finally, an eminent status on the international stage.”
It is necessary for governments to seek the best and effective tools of communication with the citizen everywhere, to listen to his voice, to learn about his trends and to respond to his aspirations he said. “This requires that we should pay attention and that we should listen,” Shaikh Khalifa added while addressing the leaders. Shaikh Khalifa noted that the FNC had witnessed a qualitative development with regards to the experiment in expansion of participation that resulted in the holding of the second elections on September 24, 2011.
The President underlined that the UAE constitution protects rights and freedoms. “This makes the UAE a paradise for citizens and expatriates. All live in peace in a tolerant community that is free from segregation and injustice.”
The UAE won membership of the UN Human Rights Council for a three-year term starting from early 2013. The country was elected in a secret ballot conducted by the UN General Assembly in which 21 candidate countries from 18 geographical groups competed for 18 vacant seats.
Promoting national cohesion
Shaikh Khalifa announced the launch of a new housing programme that aims to build 10,000 housing units throughout all regions of the emirates as a gift to his people on the 41st National Day on December 2, 2012.
“It is our belief that housing forms the basis of psychological, social and economic stability for local families and so it is within our constant remit to provide a suitable lifestyle for all our citizens.
Shaikh Khalifa also gave instructions for developing the abilities of the young workforce.
“We directed that a committee be established, under the direct supervision of the Cabinet. One of its main responsibilities is that of Emiratisation in both the public and private sectors, through enactment of the laws that guarantee jobs for citizens. The committee will also be responsible for encouraging co-operation with the private sector to train Emiratis and provide them with the knowledge and experience they need, thereby increasing employment opportunities for the national cadre.”
On November 29, 2012, Shaikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister, announced the ‘Absher’ Initiative launched by Shaikh Khalifa, a programme designed to strengthen participation of the national cadre in the labour market.
Shaikh Khalifa, after he was briefed from Shaikh Mohammed on the result of his field tour to a number of remote areas, ordered allocation of Dh16 billion for the implementation of a complete infrastructure throughout the state.
Upon directives from Shaikh Khalifa on August 15, 2012, all expatriate students at Abu Dhabi public schools have been exempted from overdue tuition fees. The number of beneficiaries in the last five years amounted to more than 180,000 student from 700 government school.
Debt settlement fund
Out of his care for his citizens’ social stability and welfare and keenness to provide them with a dignified life, Shaikh Khalifa ordered settlement of defaulting personal loans of 6,830 citizens for an amount of about Dh2 billion.