$2bn housing for Emiratis a step closer



Musanada, the building and general services arm of the Abu Dhabi Government, is pressing ahead with plans to build Dh7.6 billion (US$2.06bn), 42 square kilometres Emirati community in Abu Dhabi - one of the largest of its kind in the capital.

The company this week awarded a contract to the engineering and design specialist Atkins to design the infrastructure for a new 130,000-strong community for Emiratis in the capital in an attempt to meet growing demand.

Known as North Wathba Urban Development, the scheme will include 20,000 villas, flats and townhouses in a neighbourhood north of Baniyas and south of Shamkhah, near Khalifa City B, about 45km from Abu Dhabi city centre.

As part of its role, Atkins will complete design and tender documentation for the enabling works, build permanent infrastructure including primary and local roads, landscaping and amenities.

It will also deliver utility transmission and distribution networks comprising drainage, sewerage, potable water, power, gas, district cooling and telecommunications.

"This is an important and far-reaching project for Abu Dhabi which will provide an excellent quality Emirati neighbourhood, including links to public transport networks and high levels of sustainable design," said Dr Ghassan Ziadat, the director of infrastructure and regional head of bridges for Atkins.

The North Wathba masterplan was completed by Abu Dhabi's Urban Development Council (UPC) and includes plots for shopping centres, schools, hospitals, offices and parks.

UPC is seeking to provide 13,000 new properties to Emirati families by 2015. The municipality issues free residential plots to Emiratis each year.

Although the Abu Dhabi property market in general has an oversupply of homes, with residential rents falling 24 per cent over the past year, according to CBRE, experts say there remains a pent-up demand for social housing within the emirate.

Last month, Mohammed Al Mubarak, Aldar's deputy chief executive, said social housing needs within Abu Dhabi could total as many as 10,000 new homes on top of those already being built.

The North Wathba community lies next to its sister development, the 40 million square foot South Al Shamkha project. That is already under construction after being approved last year by the Abu Dhabi Executive Council and will provide an additional 12,460 plots for Emirati villas.

It is expected to be completed by 2014.

South Al Shamkha will include an extensive public transport system that includes a metro system to connect to the capital.

Our legal consultants

Name: Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants.

Education reform in Abu Dhabi

The emirate’s public education system has been in a constant state of change since the New School Model was launched in 2010 by the Abu Dhabi Education Council. The NSM, which is also known as the Abu Dhabi School Model, transformed the public school curriculum by introducing bilingual education starting with students from grades one to five. Under this new curriculum, the children spend half the day learning in Arabic and half in English – being taught maths, science and English language by mostly Western educated, native English speakers. The NSM curriculum also moved away from rote learning and required teachers to develop a “child-centered learning environment” that promoted critical thinking and independent learning. The NSM expanded by one grade each year and by the 2017-2018 academic year, it will have reached the high school level. Major reforms to the high school curriculum were announced in 2015. The two-stream curriculum, which allowed pupils to elect to follow a science or humanities course of study, was eliminated. In its place was a singular curriculum in which stem -- science, technology, engineering and maths – accounted for at least 50 per cent of all subjects. In 2016, Adec announced additional changes, including the introduction of two levels of maths and physics – advanced or general – to pupils in Grade 10, and a new core subject, career guidance, for grades 10 to 12; and a digital technology and innovation course for Grade 9. Next year, the focus will be on launching a new moral education subject to teach pupils from grades 1 to 9 character and morality, civic studies, cultural studies and the individual and the community.

Why your domicile status is important

Your UK residence status is assessed using the statutory residence test. While your residence status – ie where you live - is assessed every year, your domicile status is assessed over your lifetime.

Your domicile of origin generally comes from your parents and if your parents were not married, then it is decided by your father. Your domicile is generally the country your father considered his permanent home when you were born. 

UK residents who have their permanent home ("domicile") outside the UK may not have to pay UK tax on foreign income. For example, they do not pay tax on foreign income or gains if they are less than £2,000 in the tax year and do not transfer that gain to a UK bank account.

A UK-domiciled person, however, is liable for UK tax on their worldwide income and gains when they are resident in the UK.

Race card:

6.30pm: Maiden; Dh165,000; 2,000m

7.05pm: Handicap; Dh165,000; 2,200m

7.40pm: Conditions; Dh240,000; 1,600m

8.15pm: Handicap; Dh190,000; 2,000m

8.50pm: The Garhoud Sprint Listed; Dh265,000; 1,200m

9.25pm: Handicap; Dh170,000; 1,600m

10pm: Handicap; Dh190,000; 1,400m


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