KUWAIT CITY, March 16: Owners of stalls and businesses in Souk Mubarakiya at Kuwait City held a six-hour strike from the early hours of Thursday, March 16 to protest against the rent increase of up to 500 percent in some cases.
The strike was held after the investment company in charge of running Souk Mubarakiya issued a notice on rent increase.
This forced the government to intervene through its department of State Property Management, addressing the investment company to halt all procedures related to the rent increase. Critics privy to this issue believe the losses incurred by the merchants could have been avoided in the first place, and that the government got involved against its will fearing the anger of the people and parliamentarians, and the backlash of the entire ordeal.
The critics explained that the State Properties Management Department took the matter lightly when contracting with the investment company. It did not set any restrictions for the company, which led the company to act freely without taking into consideration the gravity of its actions in this regard.
Meanwhile, KUNA reported that His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah has affirmed keenness to solve the problems of the merchants at Souk Mubarakiya. “This approach aims at preserving their rights and interests in a manner that will safeguard the traditional features of the old market”, said His Highness the Premier, alluding to store owners at one of the top tourist and commercial landmarks of Kuwait.
The government, in a statement issued based on instructions of His Highness the Premier, said Ministry of Commerce and Industry and Ministry of Finance have addressed the company managing Souk Mubarakiya and ordered immediate cessation of its measures on the commercial stores.
The government statement revealed that the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Anas Al-Saleh and the Minister of Commerce and Industry and Acting Minister of Youth Affairs Khaled Al-Roudhan had met the shopkeepers at the popular market.
The two ministers, in their mission that they carried out based on instructions of His Highness the Premier, listened to their complaints and assured them about the keenness of the government to preserve the rights of all who work in the market, in a manner that would not be at expense of the traditional features of Souk Mubarakiya.
By Abdulnasser Al-Aslami, Mishal Al-Sanousi Al-Seyassah Staff and Agencies