x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

FNC to push for bigger housing loans to help Emiratis

The FNC wants to vote on increasing the grant for Emiratis earning less than Dh20,000 a month.

ABU DHABI // Emiratis earning less than Dh20,000 a month should be granted up to Dh800,000 for housing, the Federal National Council will tell the Cabinet.

In review of recommendations concerning the Sheikh Zayed Housing Fund following a debate in January with Sheikh Hamdan bin Mubarak, head of the fund, members have pushed for changes to help as many Emiratis as possible.

Currently, successful applicants are given a free plot of land and up to Dh750,000 to build a house.

The money comes in the form of either a loan or a grant for families earning less than Dh15,000 a month - which members want raised to Dh20,000. They also want the amount paid to be raised to Dh800,000.

But some members expressed concerned that raising the earnings floor would be counterproductive, with limited funds resulting in longer delays to payments.

"The minister said if it was raised by Dh1,000, fewer would benefit," said Dr Amal Al Qubaisi (Abu Dhabi).

To compensate for that, members also recommended an increase in the fund's overall budget.

The council therefore voted for any increase to be ring-fenced, so it could only be used for grants.

osalem@thenational.ae