Clockwise from top left: Ambareen Musa, founder and chief executive of, The National columnist Keren Bobker, Rasheda Khatun from Financial Life Planner, and Jamel Alvi, chief credit officer of Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, provide insights on why people are getting into excessive debt, how this situation can be resolved and where they can turn for help. Ravindranath K / The National and Marwan Alhammadi / The National
Clockwise from top left: Ambareen Musa, founder and chief executive of, The National columnist Keren Bobker, Rasheda Khatun from Financial Life Planner, and Jamel Alvi, chief credit offiShow more

The Debt Panel: Emirati government employee with Dh350,000 in debts seeks a Dh1m loan to finish building his villa

I am Emirati, work in the government sector in Dubai and have outstanding debts of Dh350,000. This is made up of two loans, a personal loan of Dh300,000 and a car loan of Dh50,000. I don't have any credit cards. I took out the personal loan to start building my house but then the contractors ran away. Now I am stuck with this debt and I want to complete my villa, which needs at least Dh1.7 million to finish it. I only need a loan for Dh1 million, as I am getting Dh700,000 from the government housing establishment, however no bank is willing to finance me. I earn Dh33,000 a month and my monthly instalments are Dh12,000 for the personal loan, Dh1,000 for the car loan and Dh6,000 for my accommodation. What do you suggest? MS, Dubai

Debt panellist 1: Jamal Alvi, the chief credit officer at Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank

Banks will finance MS as long as the Debt Service Ratio (DSR) is within 60 per cent for government programmes, as prescribed by the Central Bank. The customer needs to apply for a cash-out facility or construction finance against his property and use the funds for completing the construction. In case he does not meet the DBR criterion, then he also needs to approach the Government to increase his housing assistance amount from Dh750,000 to a higher amount. Our understanding is that Government provides financing of up to Dh2m.

To do this, the customer is advised to:

• Get the property evaluated in its current state.

• Seek an equity release/cash out facility from the bank where MS’s salary is domiciled.

• Use the proceeds of the equity release to pay off the current personal loan and reduce the DSR (the monthly instalment on Dh1.3m will be about Dh8,000, the Mohammed Bin Rashid Housing Establishment payment Dh3,000 and the car loan Dh1,000, making the DSR 36 per cent)

• To secure the Dh750,000 in government funding, MS needs to achieve a certain stage of completion of construction. At that stage, the government will release these funds – but only against the mortgage of the property. Since there will already be a mortgage on the property in favour of the bank that would have lent Dh1m or so, that bank will have to provide an NOC (no objection certificate) so that a second charge is created in favour of the government funding agency.

Debt panellist 2: Ambareen Musa, the founder and chief executive of

Your current loan instalments take up 40 per cent of your monthly salary, so logically the first step towards improving your financial situation should be to lower your DBR. And since your current DBR makes it hard for you to qualify for a home construction loan, you will have to find a solution to fix that first.

To reduce your DBR you will have to either pay off your personal loan completely or find a way to stretch your repayments over a longer tenure. The former option makes more financial sense, so you can explore that to begin with. Do you have any savings you could tap into, or any investment and assets you could liquidate? Even an interest-free loan from your relatives or employer, or a few months’ advance salary, can help you settle a huge chunk of the personal loan.

Alternatively, you can go the debt consolidation route to avail lower monthly instalments. You could approach banks which offer debt consolidation loans, with some offering tenures of 12 years or even higher for Emiratis.

Now coming to the second step – qualifying for a loan to finish the construction of your home. Most banks in the UAE offer home construction loans for Emiratis, so it would be best to browse the market for good deals. You can also combine your salary with your spouse or parents’ income to boost your loan eligibility, if that’s an option. In case there is no penalty on delayed construction, you can also postpone the construction for a year or two, so you have more time to build up your savings.

The Debt Panel brings together four financial experts: Jamal Alvi, the chief credit officer at Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank; Ambareen Musa, the founder and chief executive of the comparison website; Rasheda Khatun Khan, a wealth and wellness planner and founder of Design Your Life; and Keren Bobker, The National's On Your Side columnist and an independent financial adviser with Holborn Assets in Dubai. Together they answer queries in a weekly online column to help readers better tackle their debts. If you have a question for the panel, write to


More on The Debt Panel

Dubai telesales worker fears her residence visa renewal will be rejected over her Dh130,000 debts

Dubai administrator earning Dh5,000 owes Dh87,000 after taking 'too many' cash advances on her credit cards

Missed credit card payment results in 'distressing' phone calls from bank's call centre

Rates report: Latest on UAE loans, accounts and credit cards

Simple steps to kick off a new financial outlook


Follow us on Twitter @TheNationalPF

The British in India: Three Centuries of Ambition and Experience

by David Gilmour

Allen Lane

The specs: 2024 Mercedes E200

Engine: 2.0-litre four-cyl turbo + mild hybrid
Power: 204hp at 5,800rpm +23hp hybrid boost
Torque: 320Nm at 1,800rpm +205Nm hybrid boost
Transmission: 9-speed auto
Fuel consumption: 7.3L/100km
On sale: November/December
Price: From Dh205,000 (estimate)


Company name: Revibe
Started: 2022
Founders: Hamza Iraqui and Abdessamad Ben Zakour
Based: UAE
Industry: Refurbished electronics
Funds raised so far: $10m
Investors: Flat6Labs, Resonance and various others


Engine: 4-litre flat-six
Power: 525hp (GT3), 500hp (GT4)
Torque: 465Nm (GT3), 450Nm (GT4)
Transmission: Seven-speed automatic
Price: From Dh944,000 (GT3), Dh581,700 (GT4)
On sale: Now

David Haye record

Total fights: 32
Wins: 28
Wins by KO: 26
Losses: 4

Company Profile

Company name: Cargoz
Date started: January 2022
Founders: Premlal Pullisserry and Lijo Antony
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 30
Investment stage: Seed


UAE group fixtures (all in St Kitts)
Saturday 15 January: v Canada
Thursday 20 January: v England
Saturday 22 January: v Bangladesh

UAE squad
Alishan Sharafu (captain), Shival Bawa, Jash Giyanani, Sailles Jaishankar, Nilansh Keswani, Aayan Khan, Punya Mehra, Ali Naseer, Ronak Panoly, Dhruv Parashar, Vinayak Raghavan, Soorya Sathish, Aryansh Sharma, Adithya Shetty, Kai Smith


An “energy profits levy” to raise around £5bn in a year. The temporary one-off tax will hit oil and gas firms by 25 per cent on extraordinary profits. An 80 per cent investment allowance should calm Conservative nerves that the move will dent North Sea firms’ investment to save them 91p for every £1 they spend.
A universal grant
Energy bills discount, which was effectively a £200 loan, has doubled to a £400 discount on bills for all households from October that will not need to be paid back.
Targeted measures
More than eight million of the lowest income households will receive a £650 one-off payment. It will apply to households on Universal Credit, Tax Credits, Pension Credit and legacy benefits.
Separate one-off payments of £300 will go to pensioners and £150 for those receiving disability benefits.

Company info

Company name: Entrupy 

Co-founders: Vidyuth Srinivasan, co-founder/chief executive, Ashlesh Sharma, co-founder/chief technology officer, Lakshmi Subramanian, co-founder/chief scientist

Based: New York, New York

Sector/About: Entrupy is a hardware-enabled SaaS company whose mission is to protect businesses, borders and consumers from transactions involving counterfeit goods.  

Initial investment/Investors: Entrupy secured a $2.6m Series A funding round in 2017. The round was led by Tokyo-based Digital Garage and Daiwa Securities Group's jointly established venture arm, DG Lab Fund I Investment Limited Partnership, along with Zach Coelius. 

Total customers: Entrupy’s customers include hundreds of secondary resellers, marketplaces and other retail organisations around the world. They are also testing with shipping companies as well as customs agencies to stop fake items from reaching the market in the first place. 

UAE medallists at Asian Games 2023

Magomedomar Magomedomarov – Judo – Men’s +100kg
Khaled Al Shehi – Jiu-jitsu – Men’s -62kg
Faisal Al Ketbi – Jiu-jitsu – Men’s -85kg
Asma Al Hosani – Jiu-jitsu – Women’s -52kg
Shamma Al Kalbani – Jiu-jitsu – Women’s -63kg
Omar Al Marzooqi – Equestrian – Individual showjumping
Bishrelt Khorloodoi – Judo – Women’s -52kg
Khalid Al Blooshi – Jiu-jitsu – Men’s -62kg
Mohamed Al Suwaidi – Jiu-jitsu – Men’s -69kg
Balqees Abdulla – Jiu-jitsu – Women’s -48kg
Hawraa Alajmi – Karate – Women’s kumite -50kg
Ahmed Al Mansoori – Cycling – Men’s omnium
Abdullah Al Marri – Equestrian – Individual showjumping
Team UAE – Equestrian – Team showjumping
Dzhafar Kostoev – Judo – Men’s -100kg
Narmandakh Bayanmunkh – Judo – Men’s -66kg
Grigorian Aram – Judo – Men’s -90kg
Mahdi Al Awlaqi – Jiu-jitsu – Men’s -77kg
Saeed Al Kubaisi – Jiu-jitsu – Men’s -85kg
Shamsa Al Ameri – Jiu-jitsu – Women’s -57kg


Name: Kinetic 7
Started: 2018
Founder: Rick Parish
Based: Abu Dhabi, UAE
Industry: Clean cooking
Funding: $10 million
Investors: Self-funded


2pm: Maiden Dh 60,000 (Dirt) 1,400m. Winner: Masaali, Pat Dobbs (jockey), Doug Watson (trainer).

2.30pm: Handicap Dh 76,000 (D) 1,400m. Winner: Almoreb, Dane O’Neill, Ali Rashid Al Raihe.

3pm: Handicap Dh 64,000 (D) 1,200m. Winner: Imprison, Fabrice Veron, Rashed Bouresly.

3.30pm: Shadwell Farm Conditions Dh 100,000 (D) 1,000m. Winner: Raahy, Adrie de Vries, Jaber Ramadhan.

4pm: Maiden Dh 60,000 (D) 1,000m. Winner: Cross The Ocean, Richard Mullen, Satish Seemar.

4.30pm: Handicap 64,000 (D) 1,950m. Winner: Sa’Ada, Fernando Jara, Ahmad bin Harmash.

Director: Nag Ashwin

Starring: Prabhas, Saswata Chatterjee, Deepika Padukone, Amitabh Bachchan, Shobhana

Rating: ★★★★


UAE’s remaining fixtures in World Cup qualification R2
Oct 8: Malaysia (h)
Oct 13: Indonesia (a)
Nov 12: Thailand (h)
Nov 17: Vietnam (h)


Creator: Tima Shomali

Starring: Tara Abboud, Kira Yaghnam, Tara Atalla

Rating: 4/5


Opening fixtures:
Friday, Oct 5

8pm: Kabul Zwanan v Paktia Panthers

Saturday, Oct 6
4pm: Nangarhar Leopards v Kandahar Knights
8pm: Kabul Zwanan v Balkh Legends

Tickets can be bought online at and at the ticket office at the stadium.

TV info
The tournament will be broadcast live in the UAE on OSN Sports.


Director: Christopher Nolan

Stars: Cillian Murphy, Emily Blunt, Robert Downey Jr, Florence Pugh, Matt Damon

Rating: 5/5

The five pillars of Islam

Director: Wes Ball

Starring: Owen Teague, Freya Allen, Kevin Durand

Rating: 3.5/5


Ali Khaseif, Fahad Al Dhanhani, Adel Al Hosani, Mohammed Al Shamsi, Bandar Al Ahbabi, Mohammed Barghash, Salem Rashid, Khalifa Al Hammadi, Shaheen Abdulrahman, Hassan Al Mahrami, Walid Abbas, Mahmoud Khamis, Yousef Jaber, Saeed Ahmed, Majed Sorour, Majed Hassan, Ali Salmeen, Abdullah Ramadan, Khalil Al Hammadi, Fabio De Lima, Khalfan Mubarak, Tahnoun Al Zaabi, Ali Saleh, Caio Canedo, Muhammed Jumah, Ali Mabkhout, Sebastian Tagliabue, Zayed Al Ameri

Short-term let permits explained

Homeowners and tenants are allowed to list their properties for rental by registering through the Dubai Tourism website to obtain a permit.

Tenants also require a letter of no objection from their landlord before being allowed to list the property.

There is a cost of Dh1,590 before starting the process, with an additional licence fee of Dh300 per bedroom being rented in your home for the duration of the rental, which ranges from three months to a year.

Anyone hoping to list a property for rental must also provide a copy of their title deeds and Ejari, as well as their Emirates ID.

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