x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

Emiratis 'who owe less than Dh5m can have debts settled'

President Sheikh Khalifa orders the settlement of defaulting personal loans of UAE citizens.

ABU DHABI // A total of Dh568 million in debt owed by 368 Emiratis was cleared yesterday in the second phase of a programme to help debtors on low incomes.

Yesterday’s order by the President, Sheikh Khalifa, covers individual debts up Dh5 million. The first phase in January settled debts up to Dh1m. Those helped yesterday include 60 people in prison for defaulting on debts amounting to Dh68.8m. They will now be released from detention.

The debts will be settled from a Dh10 billion fund set up on National Day last year, on the recommendation of a committee headed by Ahmed Jumaa Al Zaabi, deputy minister of presidential affairs.

The committee comprises representatives from the Ruler’s Court, Abu Dhabi Department of Finance, the Central Bank and the Justice Department in Abu Dhabi, and works in coordination with banks and other creditors to negotiate clearance sums for personal debt.

Beneficiaries of the fund must be in employment, and pay a maximum of 25 per cent of their monthly salary in interest-free long-term instalments until the clearance sum is repaid to the fund. In the meantime they must promise to stay out of debt.

Unemployed applicants to the fund are required to look for a job, and are given six months to find one.