Abu Dhabi ruler grants more land to citizens – agency
The order reflects "the keenness" of Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahayan, who is also the UAE President, to provide a "dignified and stable life for all Emiratis and his commitment to provide suitable housing for each family", WAM said
July 5, 2011 3:29 by Eva Fernandes
Abu Dhabi’s ruler granted more than 1,200 residential plots to Emiratis in the west of the country, the state news agency WAM said, the latest in a string of handouts since turmoil spread across the region.
The United Arab Emirates has been spared the protests that have affected some of its neighbours, but has joined other Gulf states in offering concessions in a bid to stem the tide of unrest washing over the Arab world.
The order reflects “the keenness” of Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahayan, who is also the UAE President, to provide a “dignified and stable life for all Emiratis and his commitment to provide suitable housing for each family”, WAM said on its website http://www.wam.org.ae.
The 1,235 plots will be given to nationals in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and the western region, the agency said. It was not immediately clear who the plots would be given to.
Nearly 2 million Emiratis live in the Abu Dhabi emirate, which accounts for around 70 percent of UAE fiscal spending, with around one third in rural areas.
Abu Dhabi, which sits on around 7 percent of the world’s oil reserves and accounts for 55 percent of the UAE economy, said in June it would spend 7 billion dirhams ($1.9 billion) on housing loans for Emiratis.
Since early this year, the UAE has raised military pensions and introduced bread and rice subsidies. It pledged to invest $1.6 billion to improve infrastructure in less developed northern emirates over the next three years.
The world’s No.3 oil exporter has also increased the number of eligible voters for September election to the government’s advisory council and asked retailers to slash the cost of basic commodities during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, which starts in August.
Tunisians and Egyptians calling for reform toppled their long-serving presidents earlier this year, while leaders in Syria, Yemen, Libya and Bahrain continue to grapple with opposition to their rule. (Reporting by Isabel Coles; Editing by Jon Boyle)