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Govt, Parliament said to OK petrol, diesel subsidy lift ‘Citizens to be insulated’

KUWAIT CITY, April 19: A parliamentary-governmental agreement to lift the government subsidy on petrol and diesel will be approved soon; and they are now preparing a mechanism to protect citizens from the consequences of the implementation of this decision, reports Al-Rai daily quoting reliable sources.

Sources said the government promised to submit its vision and mechanism within the next four months, indicating the parliamentary majority is convinced that the oil products are being depleted on purpose with an estimated value of KD 1.5 billion annually.

Sources affirmed the government will support the citizens to ensure they will not be affected by the decision, stating several proposals have been presented in this domain among which the distribution of fuel or petrol coupons to be included in the ration cards or the citizens can pump fuel into their vehicles using the new civil ID. Sources also unveiled a plan to limit the number of cars owned by every adult citizen.

Sources clarified the government has informed the lawmakers that the decision will end ownership of about 200,000 vehicles by expatriates who will not be able to drive their cars in line with the new mechanism.

Sources disclosed the Private Transport Sector may compensate the expatriates through the development of services for them not to resort to ownership of private cars just because petrol is cheap.

Sources went on to say that KD 40 to KD 70 may be allotted as monthly subsidy for the citizens for consuming energy, pointing out the success of such a step will lead to lifting partially the subsidy on electricity by applying the same scenario and in line with monthly financial support for citizens. They also expect the price of petrol to increase by 25 to 30 percent after approving the decision. In another development, a number of lawmakers asked for a thorough study on salaries, allowances, increments and indemnity; as well as the retirement package for the employees. They also expect cuts from social security in order to grant indemnity to the retired workers.

For his part, Head of parliamentary Financial Committee MP Faisal Al-Shaye’ said the government should present integrated and strategic alternatives which include pay scales, allowances and retirement package to ensure justice for all. He noticed an ostensible difference in salaries; wondering about the lack of efficiency in terms of granting ‘retirement package’ to the employees referred for retirement.

He stressed the need to reconsider the package to guarantee fairness among the workers. MP Ouda Al-Rowai’e, member of Human Resources Committee, said they are still searching for a strategic alternative to do justice among employees; particularly those with the same academic qualifications. He added the Public Institution for Social Security plays a substantial role in providing this strategic alternative, as it identifies the amount deducted from salaries and where this money goes. He admitted it is difficult to finalize the alternative in the current legislative term. He then called for granting indemnity to all employees, adding that it is necessary to discuss the cost for this privilege since it might be decreased in some sectors to match those granted to other sectors.

Rapporteur of the committee MP Abdulhameed Dashti said the strategic alternative, which the government promised to provide several times, must consider salaries, fees, allowances and indemnity; emphasizing the importance of granting the same privileges to the employees of all sectors. He asserted this is in addition to granting special privileges to the employees in the oil and military sectors

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