Almost 200 Emiratis have housing loans cleared or reduced
Waiving of debts comes after order from Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler Dubai
Almost 200 Emiratis have benefited from an order by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, to waive loan repayments for low-income citizens.
On Saturday, Sheikh Mohammed called for families who earn less than Dh15,000 a month to be exempt from repaying the remainder of their loans to the Sheikh Zayed Housing Programme.
The exemption extended to families of deceased Emiratis, the state news agency Wam reported.
On Monday, Dr Abdullah Al Nuaimi, Minister of Infrastructure Development, said the Sheikh Zayed Housing Programme, of which he is chairman, had decreased or cleared housing loan debts of 188 Emiratis.
Dr Al Nuaimi said the Emiratis owed a total of Dh71.1 million, including Dh54m owed by 145 deceased citizens.
He said Sheikh Mohammed's decision exempted 43 Emiratis, whose monthly income is less than Dh15,000 or who are older than 65, from paying back a total of Dh17.2m in loans.
His order came months after he called for Emiratis who earn up to Dh15,000 a month to be made eligible for a housing grant. Previously, only Emiratis who earned up to Dh10,000 were eligible for the Sheikh Zayed Housing Programme loan.
Loans for Emiratis living in government residential neighbourhoods were also increased from Dh800,000 to Dh1.2 million, depending on the value of the property.
Dr Al Nuaimi said these decisions reflected the government’s eagerness to improve the livelihood of Emiratis and ease the financial burdens of citizens, Wam reported.
He said that cases where a family's main breadwinner had died, leaving behind children unable to pay their debts, were submitted to the country’s leadership for an appeal to reduce or waive repayments.
The UAE government allocates land, free accommodation or a loan to eligible Emiratis who apply though the Housing Allocation Committee.
The Sheikh Zayed Housing Programme, established in 1999, provides low-income Emiratis with interest-free loans repayable over 25 years. Priority is given to widows, senior Emiratis and people with disabilities.
The scheme was introduced to ensure all Emiratis have access to safe and affordable housing, and basic services.
Updated: December 10, 2019 12:38 AM