91,000 UAE gov't staff to benefit from wage rise

Gulf state provides details of $2.7bn scheme to raise salaries of some state employees
91,000 UAE gov't staff to benefit from wage rise
UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan
By Reuters
Tue 17 Jan 2012 10:07 PM

The UAE will boost wages and benefits for 91,000 federal government employees, welfare recipients and retirees from this month, the Gulf state's finance ministry said on Tuesday, providing details of a scheme announced last year.

The OPEC member set up a AED10bn ($2.7bn) fund in November to help pay low-income citizens' debt, and announced plans to raise wages of some state employees. It had not previously provided details on the number of beneficiaries or total amount of the package.

The UAE, a federation of seven emirates and one of the world's top five oil exporters, has escaped the unrest that has rocked much of the Middle East in the past year, but is following on the heels of other governments in the region including Saudi Arabia and Oman by stepping up public sector wages. The UAE enjoys one of the world's highest per capita incomes of around $48,600.

Salary increases will include doubling bonuses for 7,300 Emirati doctors, doubling the allowances of 10,700 teachers and other staff in public sector education, and doubling the basic salaries of judges.

Only UAE nationals will be eligible for the wage increases which will also see more than 21,500 retired people receive AED10,000 a month from the government, up from 6,000 previously.

Last year, the government announced plans to invest $1.6bn over three years to improve living conditions in less developed northern emirates and to raise military pensions by 70 percent among other measures.

The safe-haven status of the UAE, high crude prices, and strong trade flows are seen driving economic growth of 3.1 percent this year, after an estimated 3.9 percent in 2011.

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