RAK TO THE FUTURE

Ras Al Khaimah 2017 | ECONOMY & FINANCE | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Munzir bin Shukr Al Zaabi, Director General of RAK Municipality, on raising levels of satisfaction among the residents of Ras Al Khaimah and maintaining growth and development for years to come.

Munzir bin Shukr Al Zaabi
BIOGRAPHY
HE Munther bin Shekar Al Zaabi has been director general of Ras Al Khaimah Municipality Department since 2014. He is a graduate of the faculty of literature, and in 1995 joined Etisalat as a Customer Service Team Leader, and in 2002 moved to work as director of exchange centers at Emirates Post where he served for 11 years. In 2013 he was appointed Director of Corporate Communications Administration at the Emiri Diwan.

What steps have been taken to increase the quality-of-life satisfaction levels of the residents of Ras Al Khaimah?

In the last few years RAK Municipality has taken serious steps toward the development of the quality and lifestyle of Ras Al Khaimah. The mandate of RAK Municipality is to be in charge of all the municipal affairs related to people's quality of life. This starts from day one until the end of construction and maintenance. We are also in charge of public health and the development of initiatives and infrastructure proposals, in association with Ras Al Khaimah's Public Works and Services Department. Ras Al Khaimah Municipality, in the last few years, has managed to accommodate the requests of people, whether it is for local Emiratis to have their own plots and build their own residential units or monitor the development of serious infrastructure projects related to the quality of life in the Emirate. These projects are not being done just by RAK Municipality but we also act as the facilitator for these projects; from getting proper land allocation to facilitating processes, while ensuring that the necessary quality assurance and standards are implemented at the same time. We get the best use out of the Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah. If we focus on town planning, for example, we have done a lot of neighborhood community design. For example, we have allocated around 2,000 plots for local Emiratis that will be developed by the Sheikh Zayed Housing Program. In terms of accessibility, the Municipality, in coordination with the Ministry of Infrastructure Development, is working on the RAK ring road and other highways that will connect Ras Al Khaimah to other Emirates. Ras Al Khaimah ring road is 85% complete and is expected to be opened in 2017. It will immediately connect Ras Al Khaimah to the 611 and Emirates Sheikh Mohammad Bin Zayed E311.

What are the biggest projects that the Municipality is involved with at the moment?

There are a lot of projects, such as Etihad Rail, the housing programs, and our own small local housing in different areas. Because we are the master planner we are the owner of the land bank and therefore in charge of everything because our role is to coordinate the process together to manage integration and ensure it is used in the best way. We think on an overall perspective about how the city will look in 10, 20, and 50 years and what we need, as a municipality, to improve, protect, and revitalize. Ras Al Khaimah has grown on the back of planning and vision, and our role as RAK Municipality is to translate the vision of His Highness for Ras Al Khaimah into reality through the implementation and integration of all entities' visions together in one platform.

What do you think Ras Al Khaimah needs to evolve and boost its economy further?

In the near future, the free zones and industrial areas will grow due to increased connectivity and we expect developments in the real estate and tourism sectors are going to have a great impact on Ras Al Khaimah's GDP. The Emirate will develop as a diversified economy through different segments; industrial zones, free zones, technology parks, real estate, tourism, manufacturing, cement, ceramics, and pharmaceuticals. All these developments are going to create job opportunities and people will move here, for which you need infrastructure, connectivity, and accessibility. This is how we plan our development; we phase it, we monitor it, and then we implement it. Our goal is to meet the requirements of the people in a contemporary manner that fits the requirements of the future. We focus on quality of life, happiness, the attractiveness of the Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah, and the look and feel, ideas, initiatives, and innovations; these are the main elements that we focus on as a municipality.