The UAE Banks Federation's CEOs Advisory Council has held its first meeting of the year, which focused on a number of crucial upcoming projects. Chaired by Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair, the CEOs Advisory Council meeting focused in particular on the Federation's support for the Debt Settlement Fund, preparations for the introduction of Al Etihad Credit Bureau and progress on the implementation of Smart Government Initiative and Banks' Code of Conduct, in addition to other key issues and strategic plans for the year. On the Debt Settlement Fund, the Council reaffirmed its full support for the government's initiative to alleviate the debt burden of certain UAE nationals, and acknowledged the efforts already made by member banks to contribute to the scheme. The Council also recognised the importance of efforts by its member banks to encourage financial literacy and responsibility programmes to their clients to prevent such debts recurring in the future. Representatives of the Council commended the value of the Code of Conduct issued by the Federation in 2013 and agreed that it should be kept under regular review to ensure its application and observance. Representatives reviewed concrete measures and progress achieved by the federation steering committee to implement the Smart Government Initiative which was launched in 2013 by Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, to ensure services from all government bodies are automated and easily available to the population through state of the art technology platforms. The financial component of the initiative is to be rolled out over the coming year, which will allow citizens and residents of the UAE as well as visitors to purchase goods and services through the use of their smart phones and other digital devices. During the meeting, the CEO's Advisory Council also reviewed key factors that made 2013 such a highly productive and successful year for UAE Banks Federation and member banks. Commenting at the meeting, Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair, Chairman of the UAE Banks Federation, said: "We had a very productive and fruitful meeting to have hopefully another very successful year. We take great care in reviewing the work of our 10 specialised committees, and we approved the proposed action plan for the year ahead. Our discussions reinforced the importance of support for the Debt Settlement Fund by all member banks to reduce the debt burden on UAE Nationals. We also considered the framework and content of a customer rights charter which will incorporate standards that can be expected by customers and actions that they can take where services provided or products sold have not met their reasonable expectations." The Council was also advised on the results of the Federation's first annual conference in November and of plans now coming together for the next conference due towards the last quarter of the year. . Details of proposed co-operation with a number of international banking associations were laid before the Council, by which it can derive best practice and specialised expertise in certain areas. It acknowledged the beneficial role of the UAE Central Bank in supporting the banking industry over the past year through its regular dialogue with the industry to ensure the long-term health of the banking system.