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Emiratis: better unemployed than drive a taxi

Emiratis: better unemployed than drive a taxi

According to a report, the Sharjah Public Transport Corporation has been unsuccessful in finding Emirati taxi drivers.

May 24, 2009 12:33 by

The Sharjah Public Transport Corporation (SPTC) has said that despite adopting emiratization, the body has been unable to hire Emiratis as taxi drivers in the city, reports The National.

“We admit this whole campaign was a complete failure,” Mohammed al Shamsi, the chairman of the board of directors of the SPTC, told the Sharjah Consultative Council. “We have tried several times, and I will tell you that we shall continue trying.”

According to al Shamsi, the SPTC has received only one enquiry from a national for a driver’s position since it launched the emiratization process almost five years ago.

“He called in the evening saying that he wanted a job as a driver, and in the morning, we called him back – he said he didn’t want the job anymore,” al Shamsi said. “We asked him why and if he had got another job – he said he was a national and was content to remain unemployed if he didn’t get a decent job as a national.”

“There are many nationals of this country who don’t have jobs and would manage to do the driving job but are not given a chance or encouraged,” al Shamsi said.

The National Human Resource Development and Employment Authority, (Tanmia) which works towards employing UAE nationals has about 14,000 UAE national jobseekers registered with it, while 13,500 unemployed Emiratis are registered with the Emirates Nationals Development Programme (ENDP), another body promoting emiratization.

According to the Middle East Youth Initiative, a joint project of the US-based Wolfensohn Center for Development and the Dubai School of Government, more than 80 percent of unemployed Emiratis are young people between 15 and 24.

Although unemployment among nationals in the UAE is high, will young Emiratis agree to become taxi drivers or laborers?

It brings to mind an issue Kipp covered last year: In August 2008, labor ministers from the GCC discussed capping foreign workers’ stay in the region at five or six years.

The reason for the cap was reportedly to stop the erosion of local culture and to reduce the soaring unemployment rates among nationals. But with the plan being targeted at unskilled and semi-skilled workers, we were tempted to ask at that time whether any nationals will actually take up construction, cleaning or taxi-driving jobs in the region?

Obviously not.

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