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SEVERE PUNISHMENT AWAITS THOSE FOUND SELLING SUBSIDISED GOODS Loopholes for abuse to be closed

KUWAIT CITY, April 5: Barely a week after the closed-door parliamentary session when the “real financial and economical status’’ of the State was revealed, public institutions and establishments have started studying plans and procedures to stop the wastage of public funds and regulate subsidies - a step the government thinks is inevitable. Ministerial sources disclosed the move towards regulating subsidies is part of a comprehensive plan, which involves remedying every faulty aspect of the budget. Sources said the commodities and ration supplies will be regulated to ensure distribution only to the rightful beneficiaries and impose severe penalties on those proven to be selling these goods.

On regulating water and electricity consumption, sources disclosed “the government is facing technical difficulties in separating the citizens and expatriates in terms of billing; let alone the failure of several citizens to pay electricity bills, contrary to the expatriates who are committed to settling their bills.” Sources confirmed work is underway on setting limitations for water and electricity services, which will lead to the increase of consumption charges. After that, the electricity consumption allowance will be set for citizens only once the consumers are categorized based on the rate of consumption, and through this move, the size of government subsidy will be reduced, then the concerned ministry will be able to settle its dues, sources added.

On the fuel subsidy, sources clarified “there is an inclination towards endorsing fuel support allowance after its price is increased, so the citizens become the only beneficiaries. Sources said the form of support has yet to be decided - whether through financial support or subsidized fuel cards given only to the Kuwaitis. Sources reiterated the government is still committed to ensure that people with limited income will not be harmed by the subsidy support regulations. Sources said the comprehensive plan will help in collecting better revenues and reducing wastage in subsidies which have reached hundreds of millions. Meanwhile, Head of the Budget and Final Accounts Committee in the Parliament MP Adnan Abdulsamad revealed the panel will soon present its initial concept to the lawmakers in order to address the budgetary discrepancies, which usually lead to squandering of public funds.

Abdulsamad explained, “The parliamentary ideas and suggestions presented in the closed-door meeting on the financial status of the country were attached to the previous budgets. We will work with the rest of the MPs on implementing our past recommendations and if the government does not adopt these recommendations, we will agree with other MPs to issue them as laws.

Once these recommendations become laws; the government will be obliged to implement them, starting with the proper budget allocation to protect public funds and to stop wastage.” On the other hand, MP Faisal Al- Kandari affirmed the report on the financial status of the State warns about dire consequences if the government does not control expenditures. He called on the government to bear its responsibilities in remedying the faults found in its budget, lay down plans for diversification of income sources, and adopt proper spending plan through practical procedures, not just slogans. Al-Kandari also confirmed support for Abdulsamad’s direction towards transforming the committee’s previous recommendations into laws in order to oblige the government to implement them. He stressed the need to take this step because the government keeps on ignoring the recommendations due to repeated dissolutions of the Parliament; thereby, preventing such matters to be discussed and finalized


By: Raed Yusuf and Nasser Qadeeh Al-Seyassah Staff

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