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Dr.. Abdulrahman Al-Awar: The UAE has turned the COVID-19 pandemic challenge into a real opportunity to develop the government sector

Tuesday May 05, 2020

His Excellency Dr. Abdulrahman Abdul Mannan Al-Awar, Director General of the Federal Authority for Governmental Human Resources (FAHR) confirmed that the United Arab Emirates, thanks to its advanced infrastructure at all levels, especially in the technological field, has managed to limit the effects of Coronavirus pandemic on various business sectors, whether in the government or private sector. HE praised the great success achieved by government agencies in implementing the remote work system during the past period, which contributed to ensuring business continuity and services provision to customers through smart and electronic channels.

His Excellency's assurances came during his participation in the virtual interactive meeting held by the Arab Administrative Development Organization (ARADO) in Cairo, under the title "Remote Work .. An Opportunity". The event, which was moderated by HE Dr. Nasser Al-Hattlan Al-Qahtani, Director General of ARADO, also hosted HE Abdullah bin Touq, Secretary General of the Council of Ministers, and HE Dr. Ahmed Darwish,  former Minister of Administrative Development in the Arab Republic of Egypt.

Dr. Abdulrahman Al-Awar said: “The UAE did not find it so difficult to adapt  to the current situation imposed by COVID-19 outbreak. Remote work system has been implemented in all governmental institutions. The system   was there since 2017, implemented experimentally in some federal entities, and certain jobs. The Council of Ministers recently adopted the remote work system in the Federal Government in normal conditions, as a main pattern to be implemented side by side with office work.”

He added: “The new remote work system implemented in normal conditions will help create new unconventional job opportunities, as well as provide multiple job options for employees and entities, to achieve a work – life balance in a way that does not affect the achievement of the entity’s strategic goals.

“The governments and organizations around the world are struggling to deal with many challenges and obstacles during this period. The most important challenges include how to ensure business continuity, flexibility in providing government services, employee productivity and efficiency while working remotely, and how to upgrade the skills and competencies required for remote work. The UAE Government could turn these challenges into real opportunities, thanks to the flexibility of its legislation and policies, and its smart and sophisticated human resource systems.”

The Director General of the Authority pointed to the creative initiatives launched by the Authority recently, which contributed significantly to strengthening the institutional work system in ministries and federal entities, especially in light of the current circumstances.

Among the most outstanding of these initiatives, according to HE, is the e-Learning Portal initiative in the Federal Government (Al-Mawrid), which played a key role in providing training and e-learning services to Federal Government employees, and providing them with reliable quality online training programs

He said: "The Authority has successfully developed a robust infrastructure for the smart government, and launched HR projects taking advantage of  artificial intelligence technologies. These projects include developing a proactive indicator panel to predict to predict the levels of performance of entities and employees, joint support procedures and services project, using robotics, as well as a mechanism to measure employee productivity and performance through highly accurate electronic systems. "

HE hailed the UAE Government’s efforts to quickly cope with the Coronavirus pandemic, and deals with its developments with high professionalism, through setting up teams to develop a new system of government work, based on the lessons learned from the current crisis. He  called on the world governments to follow the example of the UAE Government, and invest in smart technological systems that support the business environment, as relying on artificial intelligence technologies has become a necessity to develop the e-government business model, and not a luxury.

HE Abdullah bin Touq, Secretary-General of the Council of Ministers, said: “UAE Government has made ten dynamic changes since Coronavirus outbreak. These included providing banking facilities, implementing remote work and distance education, launching the national sterilization program, launching a flexible visa system, as well as dealing transparently with the public, fighting rumors, regular virus tests, gradual business reopening, and providing humanitarian assistance to all countries affected by the pandemic.

For his part, Dr. Nasser Al-Hattlan Al-Qahtani, Director General of ARADO, praised the UAE Government’s experience in the field of electronic transformation during the previous twenty years, which greatly helped the  implementation of remote work system during COVID- 19 crisis, stressing that the UAE digital Government is capable of dealing with such crises.

Finally, HE Dr. Ahmed Darwish, the former Minister of Administrative Development in the Arab Republic of Egypt, said that remote work has been around for twenty years, but we, as human beings, are accustomed to  classic work systems. However, he added, Coronavirus pandemic has forced us to work remotely, noting that remote work does not require face-to-face dealing with customers, and has clear guidelines for performance and electronic monitoring with utmost transparency.

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