View of part of the Fujairah Corniche and the Hajar Mountains in the Background

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Cost of Living in UAE Too High

An article in today’s (14 February 2008) Gulf News records the financial woes of many people across the UAE who confess to the impossibility of making ends meet. The report entitled ‘Families Struggle to Provide Basic Needs’ says in summary:

“A 36 per cent hike in the price of basic commodities in less than a year has added to the heavy burden of many families across the country, struggling to make ends meet, according to figures compiled by Gulf News.”

Late last year the UAE government authorized a whopping 75% salary increase for workers in the government sector. It was hoped that this initiative would take effect early in 2008 and would also urge CEOs in the private sector to follow suit.

The huge salary increase has probably caused prices to soar beyond the significant increases of this last year but when non-government workers have not received a sizeable increase and they are also experiencing a drop in the real value of the dirham when they wire this home to relatives or to pay off their mortgage, they face an uncomfortable squeeze.

As a writer on issues to do with the Emirates and Fujairah, I get many enquiries from people in different parts of the world about living the UAE—questions about lifestyle, climate, safety and education—but one of the increasingly voiced questions has to do with the cost of living. Is it worth it to uproot and come and work in the UAE?

Unfortunately many expatriates who have made a significant contribution to the development of this fast-growing country have decided that it is not worthwhile any longer working in the UAE and are looking for job opportunities in other countries.

Gulf News has a very good series entitled, In Depth: UAE Cost of Living, which covers the costs and related issues to do with commodities, education and accommodation in the Emirates.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: Rising prices (graphic courtesy of Gulf News).