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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 12 December 2018

Emiratis in private sector should get better pension, Federal National Council members argue

Members also call for hike in pensions for public sector to keep up with VAT and inflation

Hamad Al Rohoomi, an FNC member for Dubai, tells the chamber about the need for pension increases for retirees during a session in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday. Courtesy: WAM
Hamad Al Rohoomi, an FNC member for Dubai, tells the chamber about the need for pension increases for retirees during a session in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday. Courtesy: WAM

Emiratis working in the private sector should be entitled to the same pension as government employees, members of the Federal National Council said on Tuesday.

The move would help to encourage more UAE nationals to join private companies and ensure there is proper provision for retirees, particular those with large families.

Several representatives raised examples of Emiratis with large families with pensions as low as Dh10,000 per month.

Hamad Al Rahoomi, who represents Dubai, said the current situation does not encourage UAE nationals to look away from government jobs.

“Most Emiratis don’t look to the private sector due to the low pensions they receive when they retire,” he said.

The debate has been raised frequently in the chamber and the proposed measures have been sent to the Cabinet before, but have yet to be signed into law.

Mr Al Rahoomi later said the maximum should be more than Dh50,000.

“The amended pension law will encourage Emiratis, particularly senior officials, to join the private sector. This will also allow private companies to attract young talented people,” Mr Al Rahoomi told The National later.

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Members argued that, more broadly, pensions should be raised for Emiratis in the public and private sectors.

Salim Al Shehhi, who represents Ras Al Khaimah, asked that pensions be increased for across the board.

“Those who have retired helped to build our country, they should be appreciated," he said.

“Some of those include military and civil servants."

The amendment of law No 7 of 1999, which governs retirement, pension and social security, was approved by the Cabinet upon recommendations by FNC. It is waiting to be signed into law.

It contained measures that ensured pensions would keep up with inflation, to allow retirees to manage the rising cost of living.

Amal Al Qubaisi, President of the Federal National Council, told the chamber that they and the Cabinet are in agreement.

Also on Tuesday, members asked that a statistical study be carried out to calculate Emiratis' average monthly expenditure.

The chamber will send the results to the Cabinet, asking that salaries increase to keep up with the impact of VAT.

Last month, members asked Obaid Al Tayer, Minister of State for Financial Affairs, asked the same, but he said there would be no unplanned pay hikes.

In a second recommendation on Tuesday, the FNC asked that pensions at least rise by inflation for retired families earning less than Dh30,000 per month.

Retirees who spoke to The National also appealed for higher pensions.

"We are not exempted from any fines, or given any concessions like other countries, and while prices increase, our pensions remain the same” said Emirati Salem Obeid, 62, who worked in a government job for more than 20 years.

"The last pension increase was around five years ago."

Um Khalifa, 62, retired in 1999, after 25 years in government.

She collects a pension of Dh17,300 per month, but said she has repayments on housing loans to meet, and domestic workers to pay.

She also said she would like to return to work, possibly part time, but that there are few jobs for the older generation.

“The majority of us have housing Ioans, helpers and some of us even have young children to support," she said.

"The pension we get barely covers that."