‘70 pct of state budget being spent for paying salaries’

Rate of financial disclosure statements exceeds 98 pct out of 10,600 officials

KUWAIT CITY, Jan 17: Assistant Secretary General of Kuwait Anti-Corruption Authority (KANCOR) Salem Ali Al-Ali says the rate of submission of financial disclosure statements exceeded 98 percent out of the total 10,600 officials who were required to submit their financial statements in accordance with the law, reports Al-Anba daily.

On the sidelines of the seminar titled “Economic reform programs and their impact on combating financial and administrative corruption” organized by KANCOR recently, Al-Ali indicated that the submitted disclosure statements are currently being checked. He explained that this ratio is inconsistent because there are those who enter and leave the service. Therefore, there is always some percentage of defaulters, as witnessed in all countries worldwide.

The defaulters are thus referred to the Public Prosecution. The authority has referred a long list of names of those who failed to submit their financial statements, and this list changes on a daily basis. Al-Ali stressed that financial disclosure statements are forms submitted in accordance with the law to protect the state funds from infringement, to strengthen control on all who hold a public position, and to immunize employees from suspicions. He added that protection of public money leads to creation of the right environment for attracting foreign investments and contributes to economic reform.

Meanwhile, Vice-President of Kuwait Economic Society Abdulwahab Al-Rasheed said, “There are major challenges facing the Kuwaiti economy, particularly the dependence on oil by 90 percent”. He pointed out the demographic imbalance as per statistics issued in 2014, explaining, “The percentage of expatriate workers whose highest educational level is secondary level is more than 40 percent. In 2025, 61,000 citizens will enter the labor market. Will there be jobs available for them?”

Al-Rasheed stressed that 70 percent of the state budget is being spent for paying salaries, but the number of Kuwaitis in the country is declining, insisting that “This is a serious indicator. Any delay in the development of the reform policies will lead to lack of confidence and increase in financial and moral corruption”. In addition, Head of Kuwait Transparency Society Salah Al- Ghazali highlighted Kuwait’s decline in the ranking of countries that attract foreign investment. He said the United Arab Emirates has topped the Arab world in terms of direct foreign investment infl ows with value reaching about $9 billion (33.3 billion dirham) of which Kuwait has achieved only 4.86 percent.

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