NEWS FROM THE UAE
Excerpts from UAE Dailies
Paid parking begins in some capital streets
ABU DHABI — 20 Aug: A number of prepaid parking meters have been installed in the vicinity of Al Ghaith Towers and the Al Najda and Khalifa streets in Abu Dhabi, as part of the Parking Management Project (PMP), a senior PMP official has disclosed.
Ahmed Ibrahim, PMP consulting manager, said special subscription forms have also been distributed to residents in these select areas.
Massive rise in number of cars fills Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi : 20 Aug: The UAE capital is facing a massive increase in vehicular traffic, as a result of a 650 per cent increase in the number of cars from 2001 to 2006.
The rise in the number of vehicles is also one of the major causes of traffic jams and accidents.
The Press and Public Relations Department of Abu Dhabi Police said in 2001 there were 27,338 small vehicles and on January 15 this year, the number of vehicles reached 212,686.
Local car industry sources attributed the rise to the privatisation process.
“Privatisation and outsourcing by the public sector and some departments are a big factor in the boom in the automobile market,” says Syed Humayun Alam, Deputy General Manager of Al Masood Automobiles.
Public sector enterprises after privatisation have made huge purchases of all kinds of vehicles, he said.
Another reason is the rise in the number of driving licences issued.
The Licensing Department issued an estimated 24,000 driving licences in the last three years, said a police source.
Major Jamal Al Amiri, Head of the Public Relations and Safety Department at the Traffic Police, said: “The network of roads in Abu Dhabi can bear the load of the increasing number of vehicles. This emirate is bigger in area, and we have no congestion and traffic jams. There are a few bottle necks at some locations due to construction works.” Another reason for the big rise in the number of private cars is the easy car loans offered by banks.
Some car loan schemes are so attractive that buying a brand new car is as easy as buying a home appliance, said Tanvir Ahmed, a car sales executive. He said that young emiratis prefer buying new cars. “Emiratisation is also a factor that counts. The UAE nationals who get a good job, usually, go for brand new cars,” he added.
According to reports, the total increase in the number of all kinds of vehicles including trucks, buses and other types has reached over a quarter of a million in the last five years from 31,472 in 2001 to 237,891 on January 15, 2006.
An official of the Abu Dhabi Automobile Association suggests that authorities must stop registering early 1980s models to control the rising number of vehicles.
The capital is facing a shortage of parking spaces. The Municipality and the Town Planning Department is working on a pilot model project for better parking management, which if found useful, will be implemented in congested areas of the capital.
Each inhabitant is requested to show his tenancy contract, a copy of his car ownership papers and a telephone connection receipt in order to secure parking permission from Abu Dhabi Municipality.
He added, the parking fee from now till the year-end would be around Dh500. During the four- to six-month trial period, each apartment in the buildings covered by the PMP will have its own exclusive parking lot.
''The 600-member British Parking Authority (BPA) has recently awarded the Abu Dhabi Municipality its membership and this privilege has allowed the civic body to benefit from its expertise in various innovative ways as part of the PMP.
Employees who work for ‘bogus’ companies face one-year visa ban
UAE - 20 Aug: The Labour Ministry has given employees in “bogus” companies three months to report their establishments to the authorities, or face a one year entry ban when their employees’ visas are cancelled.
Officials said they believe there are many companies that do not actually exist in real business terms, and are only present on paper to be able to engage in the so-called “visa trade”.
Through this initiative, the ministry intends to make workers, not only the sponsors, responsible for the existence of “fake” companies.
Humaid Bin Dimas, Assistant Under Secretary of the ministry, said that the authorities would have zero tolerance with companies that sponsor workers though they are closed down or do not operate as existing firms.
“The ministry will also not accept the presence of workers staying in the UAE illegally. Workers get legal residence in the country through working with a UAE sponsor,” he said.
Bin Dimas said that if an employee did not inform the ministry that the company with which he or she entered the country to work was unreal within three months, then the ministry would put a oneyear entry ban on them.
“The Labour Ministry does not have specific mechanisms enabling it to reach bogus companies, which it believes is a large-scale phenomenon.
“The Labour Inspection Department at the ministry is unable to carry out the mission as it lacks financial and human capabilities,” he added.
According to a source from the Ministry of Labour, the only way by which the ministry could know about the presence of false companies is when a worker visits the ministry to ask for a reduction due to not renewing his labour card.
Bin Dimas said that only 200 companies registered in the ministry did not have any expired labour cards.
“While 50,000 establishments had expired cards, and the labourers of 10 per cent of these establishments had actually left the country,” he explained.
The ministry says it has cancelled a total of 300,000 labour cards over the past seven months.