ABU DHABI, 9 August – A Dh28 billion ($7.6bn) social welfare programme launched last month has delivered vital assistance to more than 47,000 low-income Emirati families to pay for essentials including fuel, food and utilities.
The scheme announced by President Sheikh Mohamed on July 4 uses subsidies to address the impact of inflation rises and increases in the cost of living.
Led by the Ministry of Community Development, the fund provides help with housing, food, fuel, electricity and water. It also offers temporary financial support for unemployed citizens over the age of 45.
Sheikh Mohamed said the existing social support scheme for citizens would be restructured to raise annual financial assistance from Dh2.7bn to Dh5bn.
The total social support budget has been doubled from Dh14bn.
The initiative sets out a series of allowances for Emiratis, which also cover accommodation, university education and support for job seekers.
Emirati families whose household income is up to Dh25,000 a month are eligible.
The Ministry of Community Development said on Sunday that financial support had been given to 47,300 families across the nation to raise living standards for those on lower incomes.
The ministry approved the distribution of the fuel subsidy, overseen by the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, in mid-July with food subsidies being provided in partnership with Lulu Hypermarkets since August 5.
The value of food subsidies is linked to the change in inflation rates for basic food items, state news agency Wam said.
Electricity and water subsidies will be paid to those in eligible categories in line with the inflation allowance in September.
Social welfare applications can be submitted through the Ministry of Community Development’s website. Registrations are made using an applicant’s Emirates ID or the UAE Pass app.
Why is the welfare funded needed and who benefits?
Nationwide, inflation was up 3.3 per cent in Q1 2022 compared to the previous year, official figures show.
In Dubai, consumer inflation rose to 4.6 per cent in April year-on-year, Emirates NBD said, the highest rise since 2015. Food prices were 8.6 per cent higher year-on-year, the bank said, while fuel and average rents rose significantly.
The scheme aims to mitigate the impact of rising fuel costs, providing an 85 per cent discount on fuel prices above Dh2.10 a litre.
The head of the family will receive this monthly subsidy on up to 300 litres, while a working wife receives an additional 200 litres. The head of the family will be granted 400 litres if the wife does not have employment.
Electricity and water
Eligible Emiratis will be granted a 50 per cent subsidy for electricity consumption of less than 4,000 kilowatts, and a 50 per cent monthly water subsidy for water consumption below 26,000 gallons.
Food supplement allowance
The government will bear 75 per cent of food price inflation costs for lower-income Emiratis “to meet their living requirements and provide them with a decent life,” Wam reported. — The National News