x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

FNC frustrated over delay between sessions

Members say their work has been held up by the lack of meetings and that ministers are partly to blame.

ABU DHABI // FNC members say they are frustrated that they have not met for almost a month.

Their next session, on Tuesday next week, will come five weeks after the last one on March 19.

And to make up for lost time, a session will be held every Tuesday until the start of the four-month summer recess in mid-June.

Members say their work has been held up by the lack of meetings and that ministers are partly to blame.

"We do not meet, and we do not have time to finish the topics we have," said Ali Al Nuaimi (Ajman).

"We have several [topics] we need to meet the Government to discuss. We do not understand why this is being delayed."

Mr Al Nuaimi, a member of the council's finance committee, said two reports - on the Ministry of Economy and the General Pensions Authority - have been awaiting debate since November.

"But it seems [the ministers'] schedules are always busy, they don't have time," he said. "We understand they are busy but there are a lot of reports to be discussed. The public interest is being affected."

Other committees are also waiting for a minister to appear before the council to discuss their findings.

Members have been not been idle during their unexpected break.

Sheikha Al Ari (Umm Al Quwain), who sits on two committees, said each meets at least once a week, giving members plenty to do.

"Speaking for myself, every week we meet on two days," she said. "We have bills and reports to prepare.

"Last Tuesday we met from 10am to 3.30pm discussing the Wadeema law [on child protection]. And we are also studying the situation of teachers in the country."

There have also been overseas trips.

"There were a lot of parliamentary meetings over the past month in China, Kuwait, and other places," said Sultan Al Sammahi (Fujairah).

"And ministers apologised, so delay is between the council and Government."

Mr Al Sammahi said the council had been scheduled to meet today but a minister said he would not be able to attend. He did not identify the minister.

"It is a problem for us," he said. "It delays us in committees."

Mr Al Sammahi said Amal Al Qubaisi (Abu Dhabi), the Deputy Speaker, will lead next week's the meeting as the Speaker, Mohammed Al Murr (Dubai), will be otherwise engaged.

At that meeting, a report on the Ministry of Public Works is due to be discussed in the presence of the new minister, Abdullah Al Nuaimi.