A total of 12,653 UAE nationals across the country are jobless, including 4,461 Emiratis in Abu Dhabi, 3,812 in Dubai and 4,180 in the northern emirates, Hessa bint Issa Buhamid, the minister of community development, told members of the Federal National Council (FNC) during a virtual meeting on Tuesday.
The minister was responding to a question raised by FNC member Adnan Hamad, who asked her why social allowances are not being issued to jobless Emiratis in the country.
"But Article 7 of the same law says that social assistance should be extended to Emiratis who have no jobs on an exceptional basis, to support them in certain situations. For instance, there are those with health problems which prevent them from working; people who have defaulted in temporary financial cases; or those who have been serving prison sentences and cannot get a job easily," he said.
However, Buhamid said a total of 3,245 social allowances have been given out to jobless Emiratis since 2017 till the first quarter of 2020 for a period of six months. "These included 1,277 Emiratis in 2017, 811 in 2018, 772 in 2019 and 385 this year. Those who receive the social assistance sign declaration forms indicating that they have exceptional cases and require social support," she pointed out.
FNC member Kifah Al Zaabi asked why the ministry only hands out financial allowances to divorcees who are 45 and above? Responding to it, the minister said there are many factors taken into consideration if the divorcee cannot find a job for a number of reasons.
Buhamid noted that until today, the ministry has issued social allowances to 2,319 divorcees under the age of 45.
Member suggests plan to raise Emirati fertility rates
Also on Tuesday, FNC member Naama Al Sharhan asked the Ministry of Community Development to come up with a comprehensive plan to raise fertility rates among Emiratis, stressing that birth rates are on the decline.
She cited figures from a UAE hospital, where the number of newborns was 3,791 in 2019 - which was a 10 per cent decrease from 2015.
Al Sharhan also requested that the ministry to raise the child allowance for Emiratis from Dh600 to Dh1,000 for every newborn.
But the minister said that her ministry has carried out a lot of initiatives to facilitate Emirati marriages, such as issuing Dh166.6 million in marriage allowances last year. The ministry also held a number of mass weddings benefiting hundreds of couples.
Buhamid said that after the suspension of social gatherings, including wedding parties, following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, the ministry started encouraging virtual weddings, which have proven to be a success. She said she was hoping that when the situation gets back to normal, people would have learned by then to save on wedding costs.
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