Residents struggle with rising costs, stagnant salaries

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Residents struggle with rising costs, stagnant salaries

Residents are scouring distant emirates to find affordable housing while others are sending families back home in their struggle to make ends meet

By Ahmed Shaaban – Senior Reporter

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Published: Sun 22 Feb 2015, 12:21 AM

Last updated: Thu 25 Jun 2015, 10:28 PM

Dubai — With costs of living spiralling upwards, residents are struggling to make ends meet with their paltry salaries. Some are sending families back to their home countries, while others are moving to distant emirates just to survive and keep living costs down.

“My neighbours and friends back home believe that I am making loads of money here in Dubai, but the truth is that I am surviving on credit cards and am in debt throughout the year,” said Mohammed Metwally, an Egyptian foreman.

The father of four brought his family to the UAE on a visit visa, but quickly sent them home. “I thought I could manage, but I cannot afford the skyrocketing costs of living.”

Osama Abdulmaqsud, a translator based in Dubai, said he got married six months back and dreamed of bringing his wife to Dubai. “I started looking for an affordable studio apartment, but the cheapest I found cost Dh18,000 per annum in Ajman. This was in addition to Dh2,000 towards the security deposit and Dh1,500 for real estate agency commission.”

Abu Khalid, a Jordanian electric engineer based in Sharjah, said he rented a flat in Sharjah, but had to move to Ajman after rents shot up. He had to move again, this time to Umm Al Quwain, which again proved futile since rents shot up there as well. “The only way out was to send my family home.”

Abu Muayad, a Syrian chemist, said he is working in a Jebel Ali-based company. He stays in Ajman in a two-bedroom apartment that costs Dh40,000. “I chose this apartment as it is close to my children’s school. I thought I could save up on the school transportation costs, which came close to Dh9,000 (per year). However, water and electricity charges are going up.”

Abu Rami, an x-ray specialist with a hospital in Sharjah, said he tried hard to manage with his monthly salary, but to no avail. “I am seriously thinking of sending my family home, but do not know if I can make it as they have been here with me for the last 10 years.”


‘Financial indifference’

Good planning of expenses and financial obligations seems to be the only way out of this dilemma. Better salary management in view of Islamic Sharia and economy is the way forward, a renowned researcher has said.

Dr Ibrahim Abdullatif Al Obaidi, a senior researcher with the Department of Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities in Dubai, said many people fall prey to loans.

“Monthly installments of loans, accommodation, school fees and other services and commodities, such as cars and electric devices, must be taken into consideration when planning and managing salary.”

Dr Obaidi said many individuals and families got stuck in serious financial crises due to “financial indifference”, as well as lack of monthly income planning and management.

“One should set a strict balance between their income and outcome to steer away from financial hassles and burdens of loans, and even imprisonment.”

He said random or unplanned shopping and excessive entertainment consumption are the main reasons behind financial hassles. “There should be a clear and decisive mechanism to properly deal with loans — avoid them as much as possible — ... and clear debts as soon as possible.”

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