x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Utilities prices to be scrutinised by FNC

Members want to know why rates for electricity and water vary in different emirates when those overseeing utility use fall under the same federal authority.

ABU DHABI // The Minister of Energy is scheduled to appear today before the FNC to answer questions about the varying rates for electricity and water.

At last month's session, the FNC member Ahmed Al Shamsi asked the minister, Mohammed Al Hamli, to find out why prices were higher in some emirates when the authorities overseeing utility use were under the same federal authority.

The minister said it was the varied prices of oil, an answer that did not please the FNC member. Mr Al Shamsi then asked that Mr Al Hamli be summoned to today's session.

Obaid Humaid Al Tayer, the Minister of State for Financial Affairs, is in a similar situation.

Ali Al Nuaimi wanted to know about establishing a company to store and collect ATM data. He found Mr Al Tayer's answer unsatisfactory and he was also summoned for another meeting.

Mr Al Nuami will also question the Mr Al Tayer about installing an auditor to oversee other ministries, in line with global practices.

He had also asked about establishing a higher authority to oversee Islamic banks, and Mr Al Tayer said the question should be directed to the Minister of Cabinet Affairs. Mr Al Nuaimi expects to receive a written response on the matter today.

Two questions will be asked for the first time, requiring an official primary response from ministers before the members have the right to summon them.

Abdulaziz Al Zaabi will ask the Minister for Public Works for a status report on 40,000 plots of land for Emirati housing.

"An announcement came out two or three years ago that 40,000 homes for locals were to be built, so I want to know if it is working or postponed, and when it will be completed," said Mr Al Zaabi. "Emirati homes is an important issue, especially for youth. They need stability."

And Mohammed Al Amiri will ask the Minister of Education, Humaid Al Qattami, about having three terms in a school year.

In the second part of the session, members will discuss a bill that will require translators to obtain a new licence from the Ministry of Justice.

The bill, studied by the legal and legislative affairs committee, has been amended to tighten practices to ensure all translation and interpretation are performed by highly skilled and qualified individuals.

The FNC session begins at 9am and is open to the public.