Dubai: In a major overhaul of the UAE’s federal government structure on Monday, several ministries were restructured and new ministerial positions created to improve efficiency and effective delivery of services.
The sweeping changes were announced by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, during a live dialogue on Twitter as part of the three-day World Government Summit.
The new government will have fewer ministries, but more ministers handling national, strategic and dynamic portfolios.
“In the new structure of the federal government, we will have a roadmap for outsourcing most of the government services to the private sector,” Shaikh Mohammad said.
President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan has approved the largest structural changes in the federal government, he added.
The ministries restructured or merged include the ministries of education, higher education, health, labour, social affairs, environment and water, culture, foreign affairs and the cabinet affairs.
In a major initiative to harness energy of youth, a Council of Youth chaired by a woman Minister of State for Youth whose age is no more than 22 years will be established. The council will have a group of male and female members who will serve as advisers to the government on youth issues.
Similarly, a board of Emirati scientists, researchers and academics has been created to provide scientific advice and knowledge to the government.
In another significant announcement, a new post of Minister of State for Happiness will channel policies and plans to achieve a happier society.
“We introduced the post of Minister of State for Happiness whose mission is to channel policies and plans to achieve a happier society,” Shaikh Mohammad tweeted.
Another ministerial portfolio named ‘The Minister of State for Tolerance’ was created to establish tolerance as a fundamental value of UAE society.
In other changes, the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Higher Education will be merged under one minister supported by two ministers of state.
An independent entity will be created to manage public schools that will be run by a dedicated board. “Public schools will enjoy a great level of power and independence,” Shaikh Mohammad tweeted.
The new entity will be tasked with achieving national educational goals. “We have extended the mandate of the Ministry of Education to supervise all levels from nurseries to higher education,” he added.
Shaikh Mohammad also announced the establishment of a Higher Council of Education and Human Resources to lead comprehensive change for the future.
Shaikh Mohammad also announced a structural change in the Ministry of Health, which has been renamed as Ministry of Health and Prevention.
“We launched an independent entity to oversee and manage public hospitals,” he tweeted. The role of the ministry will evolve to focus more on the protection of society from diseases and preventing diseases, he added. The Ministry of Labour will also see changes as it will become the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation.
Tanmia, the national human resources development and employment authority, will be attached to the new ministry.
Shaikh Mohammad also announced that the Ministry of Social Affairs has been renamed the Ministry of Community Development. “We have also integrated the marriage fund in the Ministry of Social Affairs,” he said.
The Ministry of Environment and Water has been renamed the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, and the Ministry of Culture will become the Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development.
The National Council of Tourism and Antiquities will be part of the Ministry of Economy, and the role of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been extended to oversee UAE’s international aid.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will also include two ministers of state tasked with overseeing foreign aid and enhancing country’s international relations.
The Ministry of International Cooperation and Development will become part of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and will be called the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. The Ministry of Cabinet Affairs has been tasked with devising future strategies and to become The Ministry of Cabinet Affairs and The Future.
During the live conversation, Shaikh Mohammad also explained that the magnitude of the changes taking place and the high ambitions of the UAE people require a new way of thinking in terms of government structure and work mechanism.
“Change creates bigger opportunities and injects fresh blood and ideas. It compels everyone to think differently, and we will do whatever is good for our people,” he tweeted.
He called for a government that does not think of providing services only, but of building the skills of its citizens and providing an environment that encourages achievements.
“When we say we want a government that places human happiness as its priority and focus of concern, we mean every word,” he said.
Shaikh Mohammad highlighted that today we are at the beginning of a new era whose main themes are development of knowledge, supporting science and research and the use of exceptional young talent.
“We want a government that places man, family, education, knowledge and ambitions as the core of its agenda, a government that ensures fundamental rights of realising one’s aspirations.
“We want a government whose main goal is building a utopian society, a tolerant environment, cohesive families, educated generations, and equal economic opportunities for all,” he tweeted.
Shaikh Mohammad described the last decade as one based on building policies, strategies, and tools. “The next 10 years will be a decade of confidently moving forward to the future with its changes, challenges, and competitiveness,” he said.
Key structural changes