Senior UAE ministers welcome major Cabinet reshuffle

The restructuring aims to build a more collaborative approach to government

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Senior UAE ministers have welcomed a major restructuring of government portfolios as the country seeks to streamline its decision-making.

Officials said the reshuffle, announced on Sunday, was intended to create a more collaborative and flexible approach to implementing its agenda.

The move comes as the government seeks to step up efforts to revitalise key sectors of the economy following disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Ministers said the changes provided them with a “clear mandate” on how to move forward, help to drive efficiency and promote growth.

Noura Al Kaabi, who worked as the Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, has now become Minister of Culture and Youth.

We can work more together as a federal system. There is more of a clear mandate.

Meanwhile, existing Minister of State for Youth, Shamma Al Mazrui, will continue in her present role – working in close collaboration with Ms Al Kaabi.

Ms Al Kaabi also becomes responsible for the country’s National Media Council, a body which works to develop the UAE’s media sector.

“Since Covid-19 hit there has been more clarity in terms of what we do,” said Ms Al Kaabi.

“It has shifted to a different kind of gear that focuses on how we can work more together as a federal system. There is more of a clear mandate.

“Youth and the media complement what we do as a ministry. I’ll be working closely with her Excellency Shamma Al Mazrui.

“Our job is to enable the sector and strengthen it with policies that will make it thrive. The merger will solidify an already existing co-operation and give it a stronger base.”

Abdulla Al Nuaimi, who took over as Minister of Infrastructure Development in 2016, has been made Minister of Climate Change and Environment, leading the country’s charge towards a greener economy.

Mr Al Nuaimi described the restructuring as an important and decisive move towards creating a more “unified” government.

He said the changes would create greater flexibility in helping tackle key issues now facing the nation.

“The government in the UAE today is one bundle,” he said. “So when a minister is handed the portfolio of another ministry, it is like he is stepping from the living room to another room of the same unified house and this illustrates the desired flexibility.

“So far I have achieved what I could in [terms of] infrastructure and housing. Maybe the government saw that [I had the] flexibility and agility to manage the ministry of Climate Change and Environment.”

Among the changes made under the reshuffle are:

- Fifty per cent of government service centres will become digital portals within two years;

- The establishment of a Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology, led by Dr Sultan Al Jaber;

- Merging the Ministry of Energy and Industry and the Ministry of Infrastructure Development to become the Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure, led by Suhail Al Mazrouei;

- The Ministry of Economy will have three senior ministers – Abdulla bin Touq as Minister of Economy, Ahmad Al Falasi as Minister of State for Business and SMEs, and Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi as Minister of State for Foreign Trade;

- A new Ministry of Culture and Youth will be led by Noura Al Kaabi as Minister of Culture and Youth, and Shamma Al Mazrui as Minister of State for Youth;

- The Federal Water and Electricity Authority, Emirates Post, Emirates Transport and Emirates Real Estate Corp are now attached to the Emirates Investment Authority;

- Ohoud Al Roumi is made Minister of State for Government Development and the Future. Her previous duties on quality of life and happiness as Minister of State for Happiness will move to the Ministry of Community Development;

- Omar Al Olama will become Minister of State for Digital Economy and Artificial Intelligence, overseeing strategies to develop work-from-home;

- Hamad Al Mansoori is appointed as Head of Government Digital Services, with a mission to create one portal for all services. He was chief of the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority earlier;

- The National Media Council will come under the Ministry of Culture and Youth. State news agency Wam will function under the Ministry of Presidential Affairs.