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Projects of the 50: plan to get 75,000 Emiratis into private sector

A series of major projects to boost the UAE's economy and development were unveiled on Sunday.

At Qasr Al Watan, the Presidential Palace in Abu Dhabi, ministers set out the latest 13 items in the 'Projects of the 50' plan.

These relate to boosting the country's human capital and significantly increasing the number of Emiratis employed in the private sector.

Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, and Mohammed Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs, were present as the new projects were revealed.

Financial incentives for Emiratis in the private sector
Among the first to be announced was a plan to spend up to Dh24 billion on getting 75,000 Emiratis into private-sector jobs, Mr Al Gergawi said.

UAE citizens will be offered a series of incentives to choose private-sector work.

University graduates will be encouraged to take up jobs in the private sector, with the government offering to boost their salary to make the decision more attractive.

For example, the government would top up an Emirati graduate's private-sector salary by Dh5,000 a month, and make support payments for his or her children.

A separate plan will allow federal government employees to take a sabbatical on 50 per cent of their salary to start their own business. Another will provide financial grants to encourage Emiratis over 50 who take early retirement to start their own businesses.

The latest projects
1) The government will help with the cost of training citizens in the private sector for up to a full year during the training period, with a monthly salary of Dh8,000 for university fees.

2) It will support the salaries of citizens in the private sector for a period of five years after employment, with a maximum of Dh5,000 additional each month above the starting salary for university students.

3) There will be a programme to support citizens working in specialised private-sector fields, such as programming, nursing, accountancy and others, with a fixed bonus of Dh5,000 each month above their salary for a period of five years.

4) The government will support the pension fund of employees in the private sector for five years, for those with wages under Dh20,000.

5) For the first time, allowances will be paid for the children of private-sector employees. The state will pay up to Dh800 for each child and a maximum amount of Dh3,200 per family, for people on salaries under Dh20,000.

6) The government will allocate Dh1.25bn for training programmes to Emiratis in various sectors, to boost specialised skills. This is happening in partnership with several companies and programmes including the CFA Institute, Google Awards and IABAC.

First 13 are announced
Ministers set out 'new era of prosperity and development'
7) The government will start a vocational training programme, in co-operation with private and semi-governmental companies, for a period of up to 12 months. This will include monthly financial rewards for citizens to provide them with the experience needed to join distinguished jobs in the private sector.

8) Private-sector employers must increase their Emirati workforce by 2 per cent each year over five years. By the end of five years, 10 per cent of a company's staff should be Emirati.

9) There will be a programme to develop the number of Emiratis in the nursing sector. This will include a training and academic track, and paid scholarships to target 10,000 citizens within five years.

10) A Dh1bn fund for small loans will be dedicated for university students and recent graduates, in partnership with local universities, to help them start their own businesses.

11) Federal government employees will be entitled to take a sabbatical of between six to 12 months to establish their own businesses, while being paid 50 per cent of their salaries. This project will begin next year.

12) The federal government will offer the option of early retirement after 50 for those who want to start their own businesses.

13) Temporary financial aid will be offered to citizens who lost their jobs in the private sector owing to circumstances beyond their control. They will be given six months to search for another job.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid: 'Future is in the private sector'
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, said: "Today, we have clear and supported targets for the percentage of citizens in the private sector. The future is in the private sector."

He said the private sector will be partners in the country's march forward, adding: "The next 50 [years] will be better and more beautiful."

In a tweet, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, said the plans would empower the country's young people.

"Consistent with our ambitions to empower our people and enhance the strength and sustainability of our economy, the UAE is launching a dedicated plan to boost the employment of UAE nationals in the private sector, which will play a vital role in our nation’s long-term development," he wrote.

The 50 national projects plan was unveiled before the UAE's 50th National Day on December 2.

The first 13 initiatives included visas for freelancers, highly skilled professionals, investors, entrepreneurs, top students and graduates to sponsor themselves.

Flexible visas will allow people to sponsor their children into their mid-20s. There will be a visa residency grace period of up to 180 days if people lose or change their job, and new work permits allowing children aged 15 and over to get a part-time job.

Source: The National