ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The ruler of the United Arab Emirates has agreed to spend $545 million to wipe away the debts of thousands of Emirati citizens.
State news agency WAM said on Wednesday the roughly 2 billion dirhams would cover the debts of 6,830 Emiratis who owe lenders up to 1 million dirhams ($272,480) apiece.
Some of the borrowers have been jailed for their inability to pay, and will be released once their debts are cleared. Those still employed will their salaries reduced by a quarter.
The UAE’s leaders periodically cancel debts of citizens.
The oil-rich country in November established a $2.7 billion fund designed to provide loan assistance for lower-income citizens. It was among a series of perks introduced in the wake of the Arab Spring uprisings.