ABU DHABI (WAM) – In a welcome relief from the tightening economy squeeze for Emiratis, President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan has directed the restructuring of the Social Welfare Progarmme of low-income citizens into an integrated programme worth AED28 billion instead of AED14 billion.
The move aimed at raising the annual social support allocation from AED2.7 billion to AED5 billion.
The programme, overseen by the Ministry of Community Development, covers various social aspects for national families with limited income, including the head of the family allowance, the wife allowance, and the children allowance. The programme also covers financial support for housing and other basic needs such as food, water, electricity and fuel, in addition to temporary financial support for unemployed job seeker, and unemployed citizens over the age of 45.
Introducing new allowances
The programme has introduced four new allowances: housing allowance, university education allowance, the allowance for unemployed citizens over the age of 45, and the allowance for the unemployed job seekers.
Housing allowance: The new programme includes a housing allowance between AED1,500 to AED2,500 per month until the family obtains government housing.
Applicants who live with their parents or any other family are entitled to 60% of these amounts. This allowance does not apply to those who obtain government housing subsidy or own a house registered in their names. Beneficiaries will stop receiving this allowance once acquiring government housing.
University education allowance: An allowance of AED3,200 per month will be allocated to outstanding high school students enrolled in university studies (according to the requirements of the Education and Human Resources Council). The allowance also includes students enrolled in diploma and university education programmes according to the allowances of children for each family (between AED2,400 and AED800) up to the age of 25.
Allowance to unemployed citizens over the age of 45: It is one of the new financial subsidies within the social welfare programme, where a fixed subsidy is granted starting from AED2000 to AED5000 per month according to the age of the unemployed citizens.
Allowance for unemployed job seekers: This allowance extends for a period of six months, and amounts to AED5000 per month for each beneficiary, regardless of his age.
The social welfare programme has been keen to increase the allowances allocated to all family members, including the three current allowances: the allowance for the head of the family, the one for the wife, and the one for children.
- The allowance for the family head has been increased to start from AED5,000 per month and then increase at a rate of AED2,000 per month for every 10 years of work experience until it reaches AED13,000. Whereas the head of the family in the age group of 21-30 years receives an amount of AED5000 per month, and the allowance increases for the age group from 30-40 years to reach AED7000, and the age group from 40-50 years is AED9,000, and the age group from 50-60 years to reach AED11,000, and the age group of those over 60 years old, which amounts to AED13,000 per month.
- The wife’s allowance has been raised to AED3,500, with the aim of raising the social support that low-income national families receive.
- The social welfare programme includes increasing the children allowance to AED2,400 per month for the first child, AED1,600 per month for the second and third child, and AED800 for the fourth child or more, and it shall be disbursed up to the age of 21 years.
The programme includes three types of allowances: food, electricity and water, and fuel subsidies.
- The government will bear 75% of food price inflation, as a commitment to provide the necessary assistance to Emirati families to enable them to meet their living requirements and provide them with a decent life.
- Electricity and water subsidy worth 50% for electricity consumption less than 4,000 kilowatts, and monthly subsidy for water consumption less than 26,000 gallons.
- The programme provides a monthly subsidy of 85% of the fuel price increase over AED2.1 per litre. The head of the family receives a monthly subsidy of 300 litres, while the working wife receives a subsidy of an additional 200 litres. Meanwhile, the head of the family receives a subsidy of 400 litres if the wife does not receive support.
Weather warning subsides as Dubai airports returns to normalcy
The low-pressure system that brought the rain and sandstorm to the UAE has weakened significantly and moved south, the National Centre of Meteorology (NCM) said.
NCM shared the latest findings during the daily coordination meetings being held between all the authorities concerned with dealing in mitigating the effects of weather conditions.
The meetings are attended by the National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority (NCEMA), Ministry of Interior (MoI), Ministry of Defence, Police Directorates across all Emirates, NCM, and the Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure (MoEI).
There will still be a chance of light to moderate rainfall on Monday, with the chance of heavier rain across the Eastern and Northern parts of the country, in addition to the city of Al Ain and Al Dhafra region, with the continuation of moderate southeast dusty winds.
The authorities confirmed their full preparedness for all possible scenarios and changes during the meeting, confirming the readiness of all plans and teams.
Concerned authorities have also confirmed that new announcements of all developments related to the weather situation will be shared through all official platforms, calling on the public to obtain information from the official platforms and to deter from spreading rumours.
#NCEMA and NCM confirm a noticed decrease in the severity of the low-pressure system forecasted to affect the country. All competent entities are working in continuous follow-up efforts via proactive steps to prepare and mitigate the effects of the weather situation. pic.twitter.com/UZXwFEYHgV
— NCEMA UAE (@NCEMAUAE) August 14, 2022
Meanwhile, Dubai Airports have confirmed that operations at the Dubai International Airport are currently recovering to normal following the weather delays over the past two days.
“Between Sunday afternoon and the early hours of Monday, a total of 44 flights were cancelled while 12 flights that were diverted to Dubai World Central (DWC) and other neighbouring airports have since returned back to DXB or their respective base,” said a Dubai Airports spokesperson.
“There have been no weather-related flight cancellations or diversions since. We are working closely with airlines and other service partners to restore normal operations at the earliest and to ensure that inconvenience to our customers is minimised.”
Emirates Airline and Flydubai have advised customers to check their websites for the latest flight updates before heading to the airport.
Author Salman Rushdie attacked in US after threats for 34 years
Author Salman Rushdie was stabbed in the neck at an event in a remote New York district, US, on Friday. The attacker has been detained.
The 75-year-old author’s writings have in the past led to threats. Even as he was airlifted to the hospital, social media was abuzz with sympathisers and hatred both expressing their thoughts.
Governor Kathy Hochul said he’s alive and “getting the care he needs”. The attacker is in custody and his identity will be released later, she said.
Social media posts showed people rushing to Mr Rushdie’s aid after a man with “black clothes and a black mask” jumped onto the stage and attacked him at Chautauqua Institution, about 100 km from the city. The moderator of the talk suffered minor head injuries in the attack. Mr Rushdie fell to the floor immediately after the attack, and the attacker was restrained. The attack lasted 20 seconds.
— Charles Savenor (@CharlieSavenor) August 12, 2022
Moderator Henry Reese and Mr Rushdie were to discuss “the US as asylum for writers and other artists in exile and as a home for freedom of creative expression”. The attack happened around 11 am local time (8.30 pm IST) as Mr Rushdie was being introduced. There were around 2,500 people in the audience.
The Chautauqua Institution, where the attack took place, is located in a rural part of New York. It is known for its summertime lecture series. Mr Rushdie has spoken there before.
A British citizen of Indian origin — living in the US for the past 20 years — Mr Rushdie, 75, has faced threats for decades over his 1988 book, The Satanic Verses, which is allegedly blasphemous towards Islam. A reward was put on his head by the Iranian top leader, though by 1998 the Iranian government said it won’t enforce that ‘fatwa’ or edict. It wasn’t clear if the attack is linked to that, although Twitterati haters started rejoicing (sic) with references to the past.
— Sardar Sheraz (@sardarSheraz3) August 12, 2022
After the controversy over The Satanic Verses, Mr Rushdie remained out of the public eye, mostly living under government protection in the UK. But he produced several novels throughout the 1990s, and continues to criticise religious fundamentalism.
His first novel came out in 1975, but one of his seminal works is about modern India, Midnight’s Children (1981), for which he won the Booker Prize.
In 2012, after an Iranian religious outfit “renewed” the bounty on him, he dismissed that threat, saying there was “no evidence” of people being interested in the reward, said the AP report. He even published a memoir, Joseph Anton, about life after the fatwa. The title came from a pseudonym he had used while in hiding.
— IndiaToday (@IndiaToday) August 12, 2022
Expect inclement weather in Abu Dhabi next week
Abu Dhabi is expected to experience fluctuating weather from Sunday to Thursday as cumulus clouds form with mild to heavy rains and a significant drop in temperatures.
Therefore, the public is advised to drive with caution and adhere to safety guidelines and speed limits.
When it rains, remain vigilant and stay away from rain streams, valleys and rain water pools.
Avoid going to the beach and keep following weather forecasts via official channels only.