DUBAI, Nov 22, (Agencies): Kuwait’s government is studying whether to raise fees for its services, Finance Minister Anas al-Saleh said in comments published by the local Al-Rai newspaper on Sunday.
Saleh said the study was part of a project to rationalise spending, review subsidies and diversify sources of revenue.
“It is not intended only to plug the (budget) deficit resulting from low oil prices — it will be permanent whether oil prices continue to drop or increase,” Saleh told the newspaper without specifying the fees that might be raised.
He also said that any increase in service fees or gasoline prices would be decided by the cabinet rather than through parliamentary legislation, but that the cabinet would consult lawmakers on issues that required legislation, according to al-Rai.
The government spends heavily on subsidising domestic gasoline prices; raising prices could save it large amounts of money, but would be politically sensitive and might attract criticism in parliament.
Saleh had previously said Kuwait, which has huge financial reserves, was considering various options to cover the deficit, including steps to save money as well as bond issues.
Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Anas Saleh said the Parliament/government controversy regarding the alleged fee hike in charges for services provided by the state, through decision or legislation is a complex issue but it will be in accordance with the careful study done at economic and technical level, reports Al-Rai daily.
He considers the issue of increasing fees on services provided by the state as a state project to rationalize spending and review the support and diversifying sources of income, and is not intended to just ‘plug holes’ as a result of lower oil prices, but it acquires the character of permanence whether oil prices continued to fall or rise.
Minister Saleh confirmed that the project will not touch the citizens with limited income considering them the red line in terms of the State’s keenness to protect their standard of living and that they are not vulnerable to any increase in the prices of services. This is a constant need to be confirmed and cannot be undone in any way.
He said the decision will be to increase petrol and diesel prices, and what needs to be done is a legislation to be issued and for this the ministry will definitely seek the cooperation of the National Assembly in the best interest of the country, which is the common denominator between us and the Parliament.
Saleh explained that the issue of increasing fees will be taken up with each ministry separately and will be a subject to debate.
Saleh pointed out that for increasing fees on state property, is due, for the chalets for example, and that the increase be a decision similar to what happened in relation to the industrial plots, because it is unreasonable that a symbolic fee be or perhaps less than symbolic, especially in light of lower oil prices, while reaffirming that it does not deviate from the line of rationalizing expenditure and diversify sources of income and support a review of policies, not just plug ‘gaps’ as a result of lower oil prices.
With reference to the hike in tariff of electricity and water, he said this will be as per groups that consider the operation of consumption; however, this will not touch the citizens with limited income.
According to “Consumer Protection Law no 39/2014,” consumers have a right to exchange or get a refund of products within 14 days of purchase, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry emphasized on Sunday.
In a press statement, the Ministry pointed out the law allows a consumer to replace or return a defective we product within 14 days of purchase (provided that it is not a rapidly perishable good) and further states that vendors and suppliers are jointly liable in such respect.
The law is in effect once a merchant provides a consumer with an invoice confirming the product, the date of sale and purchase, the price, the quantity, type etc.
If a consumer and a vendor argue over conditions of a returned product, the National Committee for Consumer Protection (NCCP) should be contacted.
On 5 June 2014, Law No 39 of 2014 relating to Consumer Protection (the Consumer Protection Law) was published in the Official Gazette.
The Consumer Protection Law has 37 articles aimed at safeguarding consumer rights and creating an instrument of control to ensure such rights are properly defended.