Monthly money worries are growing burden for father of three

Sharjah man fears arrest because he cannot pay his debts, has health issues and has no job.
Hashel Al Naqbi, an unemployed Emirati from Kalba, says he was forced to retire from the military because of ill health. Pawan Singh / The National
Hashel Al Naqbi, an unemployed Emirati from Kalba, says he was forced to retire from the military because of ill health. Pawan Singh / The National

Abu Dhabi // The end of the month is the time Hashel Al Naqbi dreads the most.

“People are happy when they get their salary. To me it’s the worst day of the month. It’s when everyone starts asking me for money that I don’t have.”

Last week, Mr Al Naqbi, 36, said he even considered suicide when he discovered his three children would be expelled because he had failed to pay their school fees.

“This was one of my worst moments,” he said, breaking down in tears. “Seeing them all at home.”

His eldest son is 14 and the youngest 11. They are all in private school because Government schools are at capacity.

There is also a warrant for Mr Al Naqbi’s arrest because of unpaid debt, and since he is unable to find work, he expects to end up in jail. “I don’t know what to do any more,” he said.

The Sharjah resident was forced into retirement from the Armed Forces because of a heart condition that made it impossible for him to perform strenuous tasks that were part of the job description.

“I was told that I either had to retire or sign a waiver that I was fit to work. This I could not do because I’m not fit to work.”

He retired in 2008 and receives a monthly pension of Dh11,750.

“Out of this I have to pay the bank Dh5,500 for my debt,” he said. “I’m left with Dh6,250, which I use to pay my rent, the maid, and children’s expenses.”

Mr Al Naqbi lives in a three-bedroom apartment in Sharjah. The rent jumped from Dh12,000 to Dh45,000 in one year. “I have no idea how I’m supposed to pay this money. The owner has cut off our electricity because I couldn’t pay.”

In 2012, Mr Al Naqbi worked for UAE Exchange as a customer service officer, but he resigned for a better opportunity.

“At UAE Exchange I was paid Dh5,000 and worked till 5pm. It was a tough environment and I was surrounded by Asians who took every chance to complain about me. Which is why I left when I found a new opportunity.”

After signing a contract with a logistics company contracted by the Government, the company shut down. He and a dozen other Emiratis had expected to start work last August.

“They forced me to resign saying that was the only way I could sign the new contract.”

On the expectation of finding a new job, Mr Al Naqbi took out a car loan for Dh64,000.

“I’m now stuck. I can’t pay the instalments for my car loan and the bank has issued a warrant. The company said that they couldn’t do anything because they had to shut down. There was no consideration for all the Emiratis who left their jobs to join them.”

With an arrest warrant and his medical condition, Mr Al Naqbi’s chances of finding a job in any sector are slim.

“I wish I could live with not a single dirham and not receive a salary rather than have all these people asking me for money at the beginning of the month.”

Mr Al Naqbi has a job interview with the Armed Forces support unit, but he is not confident.

“With my health condition, I’m sure I won’t get it. The doctor has written a report that I’m not fit. Our sheikhs are generous and I’m sure they don’t know of my condition. If they did, they wouldn’t want this on any Emirati.”

salnuwais@thenational.ae

Published: December 13, 2014 04:00 AM

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