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Dubai’s ruler orders management shake-up after absences

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Rule of Dubai, has ordered a shake-up of the emirate’s state’s management, including the retirement of nine senior officials, a day after he conducted a surprise spot check of government offices and found a significant number of employees absent.

Governments around the Gulf are trying to make their bureaucracies more efficient as low oil prices pressure state finances, and the move by Sheikh Mohammed is one of the most dramatic efforts in that direction so far.

Sheikh Mohammed ordered the retirement on Monday of nine members of Dubai Municipality’s executive management, including directors and assistant director-generals in departments such as legal affairs and planning, the United Arab Emirates’ state news agency WAM reported.

On Sunday, his government posted online a video of him making an unannounced visit to a government office and finding it empty, an exercise which a Dubai media official said was intended to “send a message”.

On Monday, Sheikh Mohammed thanked the nine retired officials for their service but said he wanted to allow a new generation of young leaders to take control and provide top-quality services to the public, WAM reported.