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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 18 June 2018

Federal National Council opens with a focus on artificial intelligence and empowering young people

Country is 'racing with the future' says speaker

Mohammed bin Rashid inaugurates the third session of the 16th legislative term of the Federal National Council. 25 October 2017. WAM
Mohammed bin Rashid inaugurates the third session of the 16th legislative term of the Federal National Council. 25 October 2017. WAM

The Federal National Council inaugurated its third session of the 16th chapter with a look into the future of artificial intelligence, youth empowerment and responsibility towards defending the homeland.

Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, launched the session on Wednesday, with the presence of the emirates' rulers, crown princes, royals, ministers and top officials.

“The government will do all it can to help the Federal National Council in accomplishing its duties towards the nation and the people, without any obstacles or complications,” he told the attendees.

Dr Amal Al Qubaisi, Speaker of the Federal National Council (FNC) said that the country has a "bright future" ahead.

“As we are in the year of giving, and approaching 2018 - the Year of Zayed, and striving towards fulfiling the Emirati dream, and racing with the future,” she said.

“We have proof that our country is determined towards a bright future.”

She referred to the artificial intelligence project and Mars Scientific City as examples.

However, the future carries challenges as much as it carries promises.

“The dangers that the region is experiencing today are expected to double tomorrow,” she said.

"We cannot strive towards the future without taking the responsibility of protecting it.”

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To establish collective security requires the courage to impose justice over all, “once the individual hurts the group, then the risk of terrorism is not the only standing risk, as the danger of extremism is no less,” she said.

Following the opening ceremony, the council’s members elected themselves into designated committees for the upcoming session.

Dubai representative Azza bin Suleiman said family development was one of the pivotal issues that will be discussed over the next few months, with the ministry of community development.

Those include “the role of the ministry in building a database for those who wish to get married," she said.

She also wants the ministry to look at failed marriages and the rise of mixed marriages, she added.

The council will also be discussing the policy of the ministry of Emiratisation and human resources, and what training programs they are providing for jobless Emiratis.

“The debate will revolve around three main points: the general policy for Emaritisation and monitoring its implementation, giving advice and vocational guidance to national work forces, and following up with recruiting nationals in the private sector,” she added.

Her fellow Dubai member Afra Al Basti, said a critical issue they will be discussing this session is what she said was a substantial increase in federal water and electricity rates.

“This will be the lion's share of discussions, at this time this is a very hot topic and we will work hard to tackle the issue," she said.

The members have already conducted some meetings with the concerned ministries and officials, and there will be field visits to relevant areas.

She said they have received complaints from many nationals over rising bills.

She said that it is very expensive for an Emirati with a new house but limited income – or no income at all - to connect power to his or her property.

“I am sure the authority has a strategy and we have to listen to it, but at the same time we have to consider that there are locals who have a very low income or no income at all, so this is very pricey for them," she said.

Other issues on the agenda include services like health, education, infrastructure and social affairs, she added.

Among the main pieces of legislation in the last session, which ended in Ramadan, was the passing of a new law for domestic workers.

It set out working conditions, guaranteed the maximum hours a maid, nanny, gardener and others could work, and ensured passports could not be held by the employer.