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KUWAIT CITY, Feb 1: For 60 years or more, the government has been supporting the industrial sector by providing industrial lands worth billions of dinars, not to mention the services provided by the state such as customs exemptions, provision of electricity, water and fuel at very low prices, such that the value of government support has reached more than half a billion dinars, reports Al-Shahid daily. Despite all this support, the Kuwaiti industrial sector did not achieve the ambition and the desired goals expected from it, as the participation rate of the industrial sector does not exceed five percent of Kuwait’s GDP.
This means what this sector provides is almost equal to the support provided by the government. Such support and facilities are not provided to everyone, but to a small percentage of the operating factories. According to experts, the absence of a clear vision by the government about the future of Kuwait’s industrial sector is the biggest obstacle to the development and success of this sector.
The identity of the sector must be defined in a specific direction so that this sector and its related industries grow instead of the current reality of factories that cannot compete locally or regionally. The suffering of the industrial sector in Kuwait is recurring. It is a general feature common to all factories and companies. The suffering is represented in the trade of industrial plots, and the lack of reliance on national products in government projects, not to mention other problems related to export, manufacturing and the environment.
About 75 percent of the factories in Kuwait are on their way to closure, and are relying heavily on government’s support in terms of providing land, supplying factories with electricity and water at subsidized prices, renting plots at low prices, showing higher priority for their products in the cooperative societies and in tenders, and obtaining customs exemptions for import and export for their products and even the raw materials used in manufacturing. The number of exporting factories in Kuwait currently is 80 but no one has heard of them.
According to informed sources, the number of existing industrial establishments licensed in food items is 178, in textiles and industrial leather garments 32, in wood and wooden products 107, and in printing and publishing products 93 factories. Also, there are 252 factories of chemicals and oil derivatives, 242 factories of non-metallic mineral products, 162 factories of basic metal industries, and 229 factories of mining products, in addition to 32 factories of other transformative industries; thus a total of 1,377 factories in Kuwait.
The number of factories of industrial crafts reached 2,935. There are 61 factories on an area of 242.5 thousand square meters, with a total of 4,132 workers. Additional licenses are granted based on products as well as increasing the production capacity, increasing the area or changing the activity of 75 factories with a number of 3,516 workers, and with an increase of 157.42 thousand square meters.
As for licenses for industrial establishments during the past three years, they reached 1,327, in addition to 2,935 industrial crafts licenses. The government has offered support for industrial imports, and the customs exemptions granted for machinery, equipment, replacement parts and raw materials, and packaging amounted to KD 414.1 million for factory orders.
A total of 2,403 exemption orders were issued in addition to the quantities of sea water for cooling in the beneficiary companies, and the supplying stations amounted to 5,781 million cubic meters, in addition to 251 new plots for expansion of areas that the Public Authority for Industry distributed in the past two years