Abu Dhabi - The housing allowance will help decrease the number of unmarried women in the UAE.
In a move to reduce the number of unmarried women in the country, the UAE authorities have decided to grant housing allowance to Emirati men who have two wives.
The UAE Minister of Infrastructure Development, Dr Abdullah Belhaif Al Nuaimi, made the announcement at the Federal National Council session on Wednesday that the ministry has made the decision to grant housing allowance from The Sheikh Zayed Housing Programme for second wives, as with the first wives of Emirati men.
"The second wife should be provided with the same living arrangements as the first wife," said the minister.
Members at the FNC session said housing allowance will help decrease the number of unmarried women in the UAE.
"The ministry should simplify the procedure for a man to marry a second woman, by providing him with housing opportunities, which will also solve the problem with spinsterhood," said FNC member, Hamad Al Rahoomi.
Members thus argued that by solving housing issues, authorities will also help solve weakening in social structure, as high housing costs make it difficult for men to marry more than one wife at a time.
The Minister of Infrastructure Development said that at first, it was suggested that a smaller "separate attachment to the main house" (of the first wife), will be provided as a home for the second wife.
However, he said the ministry later disapproved of this idea, because it would be deemed as unfair for the second wife.
"It would be seen unreasonable to give the second wife a home that is unequal to the first wife."
Members concerned over housing projects
FNC member, Khalifa Suhail Al Mazrouei raised questions to Dr Abdullah Belhaif Al Nuaimi, Minister of Infrastructure Development, about the housing units that will be established as part of the directives of the President, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and how many houses have been implemented since the start of the project until the end of 2017.
The minister said authorities have approached the initiative through various categories.
"One, is to replace the land that the citizen already owns, with another place. The house is removed because it is not habitable."
He said about 500 houses have so far been replaced, adding that the work is "going well" and the housing replacement could soon exceed 2,000 homes.
"Most of the houses are from the 1970s and there is data on these dwellings at the state level," replied Al Mazrouei.
However, the minister said that 10,000 housing units have been put into operation and are being replaced according to the condition of the houses, as some houses require urgent solutions.
FNC member, Mattar Hamad Al Shamsi addressed the quality of standard of the houses that are occupied by those with hearing and vision difficulties. "This is not mentioned in the ministry's plans."
The minister said authorities carefully take into account the design and infrastructure of all projects. "A guidebook for these buildings has been launched and is available," he added.
Moreover, FNC member Mohammed Al Ketbi addressed concerns about old houses, which are still occupied by their owners.
He said urgent maintenance is necessary, as many of the houses have become inhabitable and endangering the owners.
The minister replied that preventive maintenance is ongoing. "In the case of weather conditions, coordination is carried out a long time ago." The minister said authorities meet with Emirati families to study housing needs and take into consideration all the necessary maintenance and replacement work.