Monday, January 19, 2009

Dubai news - good, bad and we coulda guessed it.

We coulda guessed it.

After the chaos caused by the ID registration system being launched before it was ready we're now told that the system is to be 'revamped'.

Late last year the Emirates ID Authority suddenly brought the deadline for registration forward, put an immovable deadline on it, nothing was ready, the website didn't work, there were few forms to be found anywhere, there weren't enough offices, only ten offices took appointments but even with them most applicants couldn't make one, the capacity to register the numbers in the time given was nowhere near sufficient.

Situation normal then, something major launched long before it was ready. It's not unusual, we often get it , Salik being another perfect example.

Panic, confusion, long queues, people wasting whole days unsuccesfully trying to register, complaints poured in to the media.

Inevitably we then had the usual clarifications which confused the issue even more, U-turns, backtracking, then changes to the previous adamant statements, such as the 'fined if you don't' scare.

Then they tried to fix the problems with the system which should have been fixed before it was launched. More capacity for the website and corrections to some of the mistakes on it, general availability of the registration forms, moving of the deadline.

Still chaos.

We could have predicted that some months later we'd be here with an announcement that the ID system is to be 'revamped'.

There's a new appointments system. There's an online tracking system for applications, to be launched within a month. There's a new application form, more user friendly with more guidelines. There's an increase in the number of offices offering appointments.

Get it right before you launch it? Not a hope. Thought, planning and administration conspicuous by their absence.

The details are in Gulf News' report here.

Then there's bad news which is another smack in the mouth for Dubai's vision of becoming a major international commercial centre.

You may know about the spat between Tecom and an American investor, Capital Partners, over a 38 acre plot of land in Internet City. The company sued Tecom for $1 billion, as reported here by the Financial Times. The dispute went to arbitration.

But now Reuters have released a story which says:

A U.S. private equity firm once hailed as a major foreign investor in Dubai says it has been shut down without warning following a dispute with the government of the Gulf Arab trade hub.

Managing Director Jonathan Wride is reported as saying: "Tecom stated that we no longer exist and thus are not entitled to wind up or liquidate, which is in direct conflict with Tecom's own regulations and UAE law.

"It is of critical ... importance that international companies can continue to operate in Dubai, safe in the knowledge that the UAE law will be upheld."

Ain't that the truth.

If this story gets wide coverage, as could well happen, it isn't going to do much for brand Dubai's reputation.

The full Reuters report is here.

But now to the good news, although I'm sceptical about it.

Police's Traffic Department will place traffic patrols on all the roads, with an average of one patrol every one to two kilometers as part of a new mechanism to reduce accidents.

Every one to two kilometres?

We need it, I wish it was true, but I really don't believe we have enough police officers to do it.

Maybe tomorrow we'll get a 'clarification' with a realistic figure, but it does at least indicate an increase in traffic police action.

That story is in Gulf News here.


redstar said...

The police announcements on traffic patrols are simply bizarre.

It's like issuing a press release that says 'the Police will be doing their job this week', or 'firemen will be putting out any fires that occur during February'.

They should simply start implementing the law properly, rather than issuing statements that simply tell the public that the reason 100s have died over the years is because the traffic police didn't used to, er, do traffic policing.

Dave said...

Some clarification seemed to be occuring on the radio yesterday on 103.8 that said that "fixed radars" will be positioned every 1 - 2 kms on all major roads.

I think the Govt got confused as to what a policeman is and what a radar device is....

Yousef Tuqan Tuqan said...

This Capital Partners story has been dragging for years. Very dodgy bunch. You might be interested to see what I found when I Googled Mr. Wride about 5 years ago when he was briefing me on his website needs:

Not exactly an angelic reputation..


Anonymous said...

Be aware of JW. He ripped me off for over $ 500k when he was CEO of a dotcom in Atlanta.