x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

FNC seeks ways to speed Government answers

Leaders of the Federal National Council will meet with a Cabinet official soon to improve communication between the advisory body and the Government.

Abdul Aziz al Ghurair, speaker of the Federal National Council, will meet Anwar Gargash, the minister of state for FNC Affairs, to push for better communications between the advisory body and Government.
Abdul Aziz al Ghurair, speaker of the Federal National Council, will meet Anwar Gargash, the minister of state for FNC Affairs, to push for better communications between the advisory body and Government.

ABU DHABI // Leaders of the Federal National Council will meet with a Cabinet official soon to improve communication between the advisory body and the Government, the FNC's secretary general said yesterday. "The relationship needs better co-ordination," Dr Mohammed al Mazrouei said. The FNC leadership, including the Speaker, Abdul Aziz al Ghurair, will meet with Dr Anwar Gargash, the Minister of State for FNC Affairs, to discuss concerns that the council's questions to government officials frequently go unanswered. The FNC delegates will go to the meeting with a document suggesting that regular sessions be held between the FNC Ministry and officials from the 40-member council. "We need more co-ordination with the Government on our questions, on the subjects we discuss and the way draft laws are presented to us," Dr al Mazrouei said. During last week's FNC meeting, Yousef Obaid al Nuaimi, a member from Ras al Khaimah, said there was "a long waiting list" of more than 60 questions submitted by members to the Government. "If we are going to have five answers in every session, we will need 12 sessions," he told his fellow members, suggesting that some of the questions be reviewed or withdrawn. However, Mr al Ghurair told him it was up to individual members to withdraw their questions or change them if they were not relevant any more. "We are co-ordinating with the Cabinet and ministers to urge them to answer the questions," Mr al Ghurair said. The members have often been critical of the inability of some government institutions to give clear answers to their questions or even to show up in the FNC chamber. Last session, for example, the Minister of State for Financial Affairs, Obaid Humaid al Tayer, did not appear. Instead, he provided written answers to three questions, to the dismay of the council members. The FNC's standing orders stipulate that the government representative may give an oral or written answers to members' questions. If member are not satisfied with written statements, they can request the presence of the representatives. In the past, Mr al Tayer has attended FNC sessions and provided detailed answers on a number of issues. "The process of giving us information is slow," said Dr al Mazrouei, suggesting that one way to speed up the flow would be for government agencies send copies of their quarterly and yearly reports to the FNC. "We know that this is not obligatory, but it would probably decrease the amount of information requests by the members," said Dr Mazrouei. "We need these reports because most of the ministries' websites are not up to date with the reports." Members of the FNC, also want the Government to provide draft laws with separate documents that explain the goals behind introducing them. They also hope that similar documents would be provided with international treaties and agreements they are requested to discuss. Dr al Mazrouei was positive about the chances of better co-ordination with the Government. "The Government pushes for further co-ordination in order to support the work of the council," he said. mhabboush@thenational.ae