ABU DHABI // Two Cabinet ministers were unable to attend this week’s meeting of the Federal National Council, delaying debates on pensions and tourism.
Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak, Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development, had to travel to South Africa for the memorial service for Nelson Mandela.
Obaid Al Tayer, Minister of Financial Affairs, missed the session to attend a GCC meeting.
Sheikh Nahyan was to discuss ways of encouraging tourism among Emiratis inside and outside of the UAE, and how to protect them from being exploited by travel agents.
Rashad Bukhash (Dubai) also planned to ask Sheikh Nahyan about a delay on a law that would protect archaeological sites.
Mr Al Tayer was to be quizzed by Dr Abdullah Al Shamsi (Sharjah) about the possibility of increasing pensions for undersecretaries, managers and employees who retired before January 1, 2008.
Ministers being unavailable has caused problems for the FNC over the past few years, forcing the council to convene less often or to hold marathon sessions to complete their work.
Mariam Al Roumi, Minister of Social Affairs, was the only minister to attend the questioning segment of the session. She was quizzed by Mr Bukhash about the delay to a law allowing international organisations to open branches in the UAE.
Ms Al Roumi said the law was the responsibility of the Cabinet, not her ministry. She said the Cabinet had already asked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to study the issue.
The question will now be referred to Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Hadef Al Dhaheri, the Minister of Justice, attended the session to see the passing of bills drafted by his ministry.