Families in Abu Dhabi spent more on phones than on education, a survey covering Emirati households has revealed. According to results released by the National Family Conditions Observatory on Wednesday, the average spend on mobile and land phones stood at Dh4,377 (1191 USD) and Dh1,128 (307 USD) respectively, while the spend on education was Dh3,686 (1000 USD). About 34 per cent of national household heads reported that they continuously changed their mobile phones.
The survey also revealed that the main reason for obtaining a loan  is to a buy a car. About 61 per cent said they took loans to buy a car, 25 per cent to buy a house and 8 per cent for other reasons like covering marriage expenses.
The results were released by the Studies Directorate of Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development for 2013.
Citizen households felt that prices of food stuffs (cereals, meat, oils and fats, dairy and sugar) increased “slightly” in 2013, while a sample of examined citizen families felt that prices of durable consumer goods were higher in 2013 compared to 2012. Most of the respondents said that there was no change in their consumption patterns despite the increase of prices.
A large number of national households showed high consumer awareness of perfumes and ornaments. About 58 per cent of families indicated that they reduced their consumption of such products after prices were hiked, while 20.2 per cent felt these are “essential commodities”.
The survey results indicated that personal loans put a heavy burden on many national families at a time when 47 per cent of the families expected an increase in monthly expenses during the first quarter of 2014.
The observatory emphasised that the issue of personal loans and bad debts of citizens was cared for by the President, His Highness Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, whose initiative for the settlement of defaulting personal loans of citizens came to alleviate the heavy burden on citizens. Accordingly, the Nationals’ Defaulted Debts Settlement Fund announced all beneficiaries who met the conditions of the fund for debt settlement to contact banks to complete debt settlement procedures.
The fund indicated that those who would benefit from this Presidential Decree for debt settlement were those under detention, or who had been convicted by courts, prior to December 2, 2011.
The observatory noted that national families had other sources of income, which usually ensure maintaining family stability as the financial burden posed a source of concern for many families. According to the results, a large segment of citizen families depended on income sources other than work such as revenues received from sale of crops and livestock products in family farms, in addition to pensions and rents from real estate owned by families.