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Minister again denies rumors that govt intends to cancel subsidies

KUWAIT CITY, Sept 28: Minister of Commerce and Industry DrYusuf Al- Ali has denied the rumor that the government intends to cancel subsidies for citizens, clarifying the plan is to regulate procedures for granting such privileges to ensure they are given to rightful beneficiaries especially those with limited income, reports Al-Jarida daily. In a press statement, Al-Ali disclosed the government is currently studying the recommendations of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) regarding subsidies taking into consideration the general financial rules. He pointed out the subsidies may be useful for specific economic levels but not for the current one which requires rationalization to stop wastage of public funds. Meanwhile, Al-Ali underscored the need for full preparation in introducing the electronic ration card in Kuwait, particularly since the public seems wary of talks on tax database. He explained many people erroneously think the plan is to impose taxes on individual income without realizing that the objective is to guarantee proper distribution of subsidies. He argued it is difficult to implement the tax system at the moment due to the absence of tax database for individuals.

Moreover, Al-Ali affirmed the ministry is keen on encouraging public participation in regulating prices in cooperation with civil institutions; in addition to the improvement of telephone services and social media networking sites. In other news, General Coordinator of Civil Society for Consumer Protection Mohammad Al-Ali reveals that most of the inspectors of Ministry of Commerce and Industry lack the necessary experience and qualifications to play their role efficiently, adding that they lack knowledge about the laws and the procedures for applying them. He indicated that some members of the society had recently presented a proposal during a meeting with Minister of Commerce and Industry to officially announce the consumer protection society, adding that the role of the society will be in the interest of not only the consumers but also the ministry, as its burdens will be reduced.

Al-Ali explained that the Law 39/2014 on consumer protection is good but the problem lies in its application. The Consumer Protection sector is ineffective, as new procedures and measures are required for activating its role. He said, “Transforming Kuwait into a financial and commercial hub of the region will require change in laws and method of enacting them for protecting the consumers particularly under the confusion and problems that emerged recently between the traders and influential people”.

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