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Sharjah’s achievements make everyone optimistic about future, says Emirate's Crown Prince

His Highness Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Crown Prince, Deputy Ruler of Sharjah and Chairman of the Sharjah Executive Council, said that the Emirate’s overall achievements, under the leadership of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, has "made everyone more optimistic about the future."

In an exclusive interview with Emirates News Agency, WAM, Sheikh Sultan added that the Ruler of Sharjah has "established a clear path and a solid infrastructure in all domains of the Emirate, which has helped achieve family and social stability."

Sharjah is part of the strong union and its future is linked to the future of the country, in line with the union’s vision, aspirations and ambitions, whose foundations were established by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, he emphasised.

Although COVID-19 has affected the entire world, causing significant disruption to the finance and business sectors, Sharjah has been able to complete many development projects during this challenging time, he noted.

Sheikh Dr. Sultan is keen to protect the health and safety of the community and is aware of the importance of continuing development projects in all sectors to support those affected by the pandemic. He believes that adopting the necessary preventive measures is key to recovery and overcoming the crisis," the Crown Prince of Sharjah said.

"The projects recently launched by Sheikh Dr. Sultan are the outcome of years of planning and that includes constructing houses and universities, developing roads, restoring historic areas, opening natural reserves, building parks along with beaches and squares, and establishing commercial facilities and markets.

Sheikh Dr. Sultan hopes that these projects will support the urban development of Sharjah, serve its residents and visitors, and facilitate transportation between areas of work and accommodation that will help maintain family stability. "The projects will also attract investments in tourism sector and spur economic growth."

The Crown Prince also pointed out that the Consultative Council of Sharjah encourages communication between decision-makers and citizens, conveying the latter’s aspirations and needs.

He added, "The Emirate also established municipal and district councils, and village affairs departments. These three authorities are the result of the vision of Sheikh Dr. Sultan to encourage consultation and communication with citizens and residents. These platforms aim to highlight and solve their issues."

Regarding the efforts of the UAE Government and relevant authorities in Sharjah to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, Sheikh Sultan said, "With the will of Allah Almighty, our leadership’s proactive approach and their comforting message at the start of the pandemic, our frontliners confronted the crisis with determination, through preventive measures, making the UAE a leading country in containing the spread of the virus." "The country’s efforts in the areas of health, culture, security and the media have played a key role in returning to normalcy," he added.

"The situation was new and different for everyone. Therefore, we encountered many challenges but we were able to overcome them, most notably related to the continuity of businesses and prioritising the safety of individuals. We have also improved our services, which have become more flexible, and we have adopted precautionary and preventive measures to ensure the safe return of employees to their workplaces.

"This global pandemic is a true test for everyone, in terms of assessing the level of efficiency of what we do and provide, and we have succeeded due to the will of Allah Almighty, firstly, then the efforts of our frontliners, who deserve our appreciation."

The Crown Prince of Sharjah emphasised that the new incentives announced during the pandemic to support the Emirate’s economy has led to "witnessing the current recovery after being supported by the Sharjah Government and the governments of other emirates."

The Sharjah Executive Council, represented by its committees, is constantly reviewing these incentives, in direct coordination with the chairpersons of relevant departments, he added.

"In Sharjah, we have reinforced our cooperation with private sector companies and institutions by launching many programmes and initiatives in coordination with the Department of Economic Development and the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry," he said.

"We held conferences and exhibitions, supported businesses by providing incentives and facilitations, and encouraged competition by establishing specialist awards in all areas. We created an environment of fruitful partnerships between the public and private sectors, established a business-friendly infrastructure, and created various channels of interactions with the private sector, which is a key partner in shaping the Emirate’s future and accounts for a large share of its future development plans."

On the role of the Sharjah International Airport expansion project in advancing the Emirate’s tourism sector, Sheikh Sultan said that the airport is one of the UAE’s leading ports and a key revenue source for the tourism sector.

"The project is part of a series of plans related to tourism development, which aims to upgrade local infrastructure and increase the number of hotels, entertainment facilities, shopping malls, as well as provide distinguished services and promote seasonal activities and events."

"Therefore, the development of the airport has become important to increase the number of flights, including chartered flights and others operating during the tourist seasons."

Talking about Sharjah’s geographical diversity, he said the Emirate "can offer a variety of tourist experiences, including visits to more than 20 museums, five nature reserves located in mountains, deserts and seas, its heritage and modern markets, and modern parks."

"The unique architectural style of the Emirate’s administrative and government buildings also attract the attention of visitors." Regarding the recently held 39th Sharjah International Book Fair, Sheikh Sultan pointed out that "the wide participation of publishers from around the world has proven our human capacity to adapt to the current conditions, overcome difficulties and achieve the public interest. It has also proven our ability to gradually return to normalcy while adhering to the precautionary measures, accomplishing a mutual victory over the pandemic."

Under the framework of the social services and incentives provided by Sharjah to ensure family stability, Sheikh Sultan noted that the Ruler of Sharjah and his wife, H.H. Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, have prioritised this area in the government work. "We are working together within a comprehensive system that ensures the social, health, economic, security, professional and educational stability of all individuals.

The Social Services Department, in cooperation with relevant government authorities, is assessing the needs and aspirations of families in the Emirate and issuing appropriate decisions that provide them with decent lives," he said.

"Local executive authorities, including housing authorities, road and transport entities, and bodies in charge of social support, play a key role in implementing related decisions in a timely manner in accordance with population growth.

The authorities aim to raise living standards by increasing the minimum wage and generating suitable job opportunities." About Sharjah’s educational policy, he said, "In Sharjah, we are keen to harmonise knowledge and culture while enhancing the innovative and intellectual skills of our citizens, starting with children, who are the true wealth of the Emirate, as they will be the ones to advance the community."

He added, "The Emirate has strengthened its global academic stature and has become a centre of education, as well as a beacon of knowledge and destination for students from around the world, by offering high-level scientific and academic programmes in all academic levels.

"The Emirate’s education policies are based on linking knowledge to culture, along with providing intellectual knowledge to its citizens, through launching numerous projects and initiatives aimed at advancing the education sector in general."

On the efforts of the Sharjah Sports Council to support the Emirate’s sports scene, Sheikh Sultan stressed that the Emirate always aims to develop key sectors, including sports, noting that the Council is a key hub for all local sporting establishments and events.