KUWAIT CITY, Feb 17: The recent statements of the Supreme Council for Planning and Development Secretary- General Dr Khalid Mahdi that the State should borrow KD 25 billion and impose taxes within two to three years were irresponsible and hasty as he talked about issues beyond his jurisdiction, says MP Riyadh Al-Adsani.
Al-Adsani argued that the tax system and KD 25 billion loan will not be realized without the approval of the National Assembly, pointing out the negative impact of these proposals on the State and its citizens. He said the State is currently obliged to pay domestic and external loans amounting to KD 6 billion, so there should not be any additional burden on the national budget.
He voiced objection to the idea of imposing taxes including the value added tax (VAT) because these will only increase the financial burdens of citizens, especially those with low income and those who depend on their salaries as their sole source of income.
He stressed the need to stop provocative statements on imposing taxes and borrowing. “We will take a firm stand against calls for imposing taxes, taking into consideration the government’s failure to implement the latest development plan,” he added. Dr Khalid Mahdi earlier said the tax system promotes patriotism and prompts citizens to seek for better services, reports Al-Rai daily.
Mahdi believes it will take two or three years for Kuwait to impose taxes, asserting there is no country in the world that does not collect taxes including the value added tax (VAT). He argued Kuwait is part of the world and the tax issue is all about timing. He explained there are three require-ments for imposing taxes – progressive tax system, relevant legislation, and changing social culture into a culture of rationalization.
He went on to say that imposing VAT has two objectives – to be a source of revenues for the State and to correct the consumption behavior of the society. He added this helps change the consumer society into a producing society. He pointed out that other countries subsidize services like education, health and social security by using taxes collected from citizens. He added this means that these countries moved from distributing wealth to creating wealth.
Meanwhile, MP Al-Humaidi Al- Subaie affirmed that he and his colleagues will monitor the work of Minister of Social Affairs and Labor and State Minister for Economic Affairs Hind Al-Sabeeh. Unveiling a plan to submit questions to the minister again after her recent grilling, Al-Subaie warned that they will present another interpellation motion if the minister fails to answer their questions. He added that if the minister takes a decision against any employee or official who supported the interpellation, they will grill her the next day on one issue – unjust treatment of the concerned employee or official. “The government should not think that the presence of 29 MPs during the no-confidence vote on Al-Sabeeh will be repeated as the people have lost confidence in the minister,” he asserted. He said the government will pay a high price if the minister stands on the grilling podium once again. He believes the government will no longer support the minister in case she is subjected to another grilling.
By Abubakar A. Ibrahim Arab Times Staff and Agencies