Sharjah emiratisation drive complete failure

Location of United Arab Emirates
A drive to recruit Emiratis as taxi drivers in Sharjah has received no applicants, officials say, dealing a major blow to the UAE's efforts to provide more jobs for its citizens.

The attempt to recruit Emiratis as taxi drivers - with the promise of higher wages - received interest from one person who decided to not to apply, saying he would remain unemployed until a better job came along, UAE daily the National reported on Sunday.

“We admit this whole campaign was a complete failure,” Mohammed al-Shamsi, chairman of the Sharjah Public Transport Corp (SPTC) told the Sharjah Consultative Council.

“We have tried several times, and I will tell you that we shall continue trying.”

All of the nearly 20,000 taxi drivers in Sharjah are expats from Pakistan, Egypt, Syria, Bangladesh, Nepal and the Philippines. The UAE government is encouraging employers to recruit locals over expats as many among the local population remain unemployed.

“It is dangerous to put the emirate’s whole transport sector in the hands of just one nationality,” Shamsi said. “Imagine if there is a problem with such a nationality. The whole public transport services would crumble.”

But he said that about three in four administrative jobs at the SPTC were held by Emiratis.

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