KUWAIT CITY, Feb 24: In this week’s Arab Times online poll, readers weighed in on what steps should be taken in light of the declining oil prices. The majority of respondents felt that the government should be investing in tourism and the industrial sector to create more sources of revenue.
The respondents felt that creating more sources of revenue was as important as cutting down costs. 45 percent of the voters felt that investment in the tourism and the industrial field should be prioritised.
“I think the government still has the ability to underwrite large scale projects. This should be directed towards developing infrastructure, boosting the industrial sector, and promoting tourism. I think we should follow the example of the UAE, the leading destination for tourism in the region”, a reader shared.
The government has been making determined efforts towards facilitating foreign investment by relaxing restrictions working towards reducing the red tape in getting investments made quickly.
The country’s leadership has called for better management of spending and for budget cuts to cope with declining revenues due to lower oil prices and it is expected that economic measures such as cuts in energy and food price subsidies would follow soon. 35 percent of voters felt that government must cut down all unnecessary expenditures.
2 percent of respondents were in favour of the implementation of value added tax (VAT) and an increase in prices on government related services and 7 percent were in favour of the removal of subsidies and cutting down on benefits.
“Over the past 20 years, changes in government spending have remained mostly inert to annual changes in the average oil price. But today, the government will have to alter its spending plans”, a voter commented.
“I think the Kuwaiti government has done a lot for the people. So we should also be supportive in times of austerity. There is a lot of waste and over consumption in Kuwait because many resources are subsidised. If the subsidies are staggered and not implemented in a way that will disrupt the livelihood of low income workers and families, we should welcome them”, another reader shared.
6 percent called for the privatization of all public holding companies, another 4 percent felt that finance invested in other countries should be brought back.
“This is uncharted territory for Kuwait. But I am optimistic that we will get through. We have other resources apart from oil; we have highly educated workers, entrepreneurial youth, and many opportunities for SMEs”, a respondent shared.
By Cinatra Fernandes
Arab Times Staff