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Interview: Mattar Al Tayer
Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority chairman is as bullish as can be when it comes to the emirate’s future.
April 12, 2010 10:02 by Emily Meredith
Sheikh Mohammed is very critical, very sensitive. He is a man who always wants to see something new. He is a creative person. He does not like traditional solutions. For example, when we had this congestion five years ago, he strategized to find quick solutions. Because he is a military man also, he thought of the floating bridge, and he said, ‘I want this within six months to be done.’ We assigned a specialized contractor, and we told them to tailor make a bridge with the specifications he gave. And we made it in seven or eight months I think it was. He knew that we were losing a lot of money because of the congestion and he wanted to be a hub for business in the area and for Asia.
How was it possible for Dubai to become a business hub?
Fifteen years ago, Sheikh Mohammed, when he was crown prince, called all the government officials and explained his vision for Dubai. He said what we have achieved is only 10 percent what is in my mind or even less. And I said at that time to my colleagues, ‘What does Sheikh Mohammed want?’ We were part of his team and we did not imagine what he was going to do. Sheikh Mohammed is a leader. The driving force that he has, the vision that he has – that’s what created Dubai the way it is now.
But in interviews sometimes he will tell you he has achieved, for example, 30 percent of his vision. Two years later he will say he has achieved 25 percent. For us it’s strange. Just a few weeks ago one of the journalists asked him why he gave a higher number before. He said, ‘This vision has to be flexible. The politics and the economy change, so I have to change. I have to change my priorities.’