DUBAI, March 8, (RTRS): Kuwait’s government plans legislation that will let the private sector manage commercial ports and the country’s international airport, with the government retaining its ownership of the assets, a senior government official told Reuters on Tuesday.
Like other Gulf states, Kuwait is under heavy pressure to cut costs and improve the efficiency of its economy as low oil prices cause it to run a state budget deficit.
There is an urgent need “to revitalise the ports, whether sea or air, for commercial business”, Minister of Commerce and Industry Yousef al-Ali said on the sidelines of a business conference in Kuwait. “We need to develop the management and transfer it to the private sector.”
Current law only allows for the transfer of ownership in state assets. Although Kuwait has discussed outright privatisation, it has run into political and technical obstacles, so officials are now talking of simply transferring management. Ali did not specify when the new legislation would be passed.
If the law is amended, it will provide Kuwaiti companies such as logistics giant Agility, KGL Logistics and Jazeera Airways opportunities to get involved, said Mustafa Behbehani, chairman of the Kuwaiti Gulf Group for Administration and Economic Consulting, a local firm.
“They have the experience to manage the airport and the ports and they operate abroad – Agility has international operations, and KGL and Jazeera as well,” he said.