KUWAIT CITY, Feb 8: The incumbent government has taken more measures towards economic reform than its predecessors, owing to its strong coordination with the legislative authority, says Deputy Prime Minister, Finance Minister and acting Oil Minister Anas Al-Saleh. In a press statement Monday, Al-Saleh stressed the need to stop the current consumption pattern and focus on rationalization of expenditures.
He affirmed the formation of a committee tasked to reassess various types of subsidies, confirming the panel had earlier presented the report of the consultant who assessed the existing subsidies as part of efforts to look into the impact of rationalization on families and individuals. He pointed out there is no truth in the allegation of some people that the rationalization of subsidies is a whimsical approach as the main objective is to regulate consumption and change the spending behavior of the people. He asserted this is important considering the ambitious housing plan of the State that necessitates the establishment of huge power plants to cope with the expected growth in the housing sector.
Asked about the implications of lifting some subsidies such as hike in the prices of commodities, Al-Saleh vowed that all the concerned authorities will take the necessary action to regulate consumption as studies show that Kuwaitis are among those with the highest consumption rate in the world. He affirmed the electricity consumption rate is normal considering the rising number of housing projects, adding that the State consumes 90 percent of its oil revenues and 10 percent goes to the Future Generations Fund. He clarified the subsidy related measures will ensure justice for everyone, because the main goals include granting subsidies only to deserving people and stopping the wastage of public funds. He also reiterated calls to address the economic issues without affecting medium and low income earners, in addition to the diversification of income sources. He added that in the upcoming talks on the general budget of the State, they will tackle programs and timetables to prove that the government is keen on fully cooperating with the Parliament.
In another development, Chairman of the Youth and Sports Committee MP Abdullah Al-Mayouf said they decided to form a popular Kuwaiti delegation to visit Gulf Arab States and other friendly states to explain the damages incurred by the local sports sector due to its suspension from international events. He pointed out this is significant since the International Football Federation (FIFA) will hold its general assembly on Feb 26, 2016 to vote on the suspension of Kuwaiti sports, disclosing Kuwait needs 53 out of 209 countries to vote against the decision
By Abubakar A. Ibrahim Arab Times Staff