ABU DHABI // More than 2,500 private-sector staff have signed up for cards that entitle them to discounts and special offers with companies who have joined the Absher Emiratisation initiative.
The initiative has created 3,768 jobs for Emiratis since it was launched last year, with a target of 20,000 in the next five years.
The 17 organisations that have joined the initiative were praised for their participation yesterday, and awarded special certificates.
"This is a national initiative, so it's the duty of all of us to actively participate and help make it a big success," said Nasser Al Hamili of the Ministry of Presidential Affairs.
"If God wishes, this will be a big success in future."
Mr Al Hamili urged Absher participants to spread the initiative's message among Emiratis so that more could benefit from it.
He gave the example of Adnoc, which promotes Absher through posters at its petrol stations.
Congratulating the companies and government organisations and ministries taking part in Absher, Humaid bin Deemas of the Ministry of Labour said: "Over 2,500 nationals so far have obtained the Absher cards and this is a big achievement for us and it has all been achieved with your cooperation.
"It was not possible without your efforts and you are the partners so we want to discuss the matter with you so we can make it big success.
"Just yesterday I spoke to a number of companies willing to participate in the programme, but I don't want to reveal their names now.
"In addition, we have received calls from several companies."
The Ministry of Presidential Affairs also asked companies to publicise the services they offer to Emiratis at subsidised rates and to enhance the offers to attract more Emiratis into the initiative.
Saeed Al Jabri, chief executive of Manazel, a property company, said: "A new Capital Mall is about to open in Mussaffah, with a few hundred outlets, and I'll try to make sure that all of them will offer discounted rates to those who show Absher cards."
Part of Manazel's output is the construction of homes and Mr Al Jabri said he would also ensure that Emiratis with Absher cards could buy houses at cheaper rates.
To attract more private companies to participate in the programme, the Ministry of Labour also announced that Absher cardholders will obtain several privileges including priority in finalising transactions at service counters at the ministry's offices.
Absher companies will also be able to promote and advertise their services free at the ministry's website, and take part in an exhibition on the ministry's premises every six months.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, launched the second phase of the initiative last week.
It was initially launched last year by the President, Sheikh Khalifa, to support Emiratisation and create new jobs for skilled Emiratis in the labour market.
Sheikh Mohammed said the valuable initiative served the interests of the nation and called on everyone involved in Absher to establish partnerships that contribute to economic development. The 17 organisations that support the initiative are: the Marriage Fund, the Federal Electricity and Water Authority, Adnoc Distribution, Etihad Airways, Air Arabia, Al Hilal Takaful, Abu Dhabi National Insurance Company, Emirates Insurance, Al Naboodah Cars, Liberty Cars, Al Fahim Group, Manazel, du, Aramex and the Health, Education and Higher Education and Scientific Research ministries.