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MPs tiptoe into consumer debt – Kuwaitis call for write-offs

KUWAIT CITY, Feb 28: Responding to public demand for waiving off consumer loans, some MPs have started looking into reasons behind the financial woes of several citizens. MPs believe this is due to the rising prices of commodities as a result of the country’s failure to diversify sources of national income.

MP Adel Al-Damkhi pointed out some officials think that diversifying income sources means imposing taxes and increasing fees “but they are greatly mistaken.” He said the country witnessed gas price hike but it did not refl ect on the national income, considering the blatant squandering of public funds and managerial corruption. If these underlying issues are addressed, there will be tangible development in diversifying national income, he added.

Meanwhile, MP Mohammed Al-Hadiya blamed the government for the delayed implementation of vital projects that would have greatly contributed to the diversification of national income. He said the government is responsible for resolving discrepancies in the State budget as a whole, not just the Ministry of Finance. He stressed the importance of creating new sources of income through the completion of major projects.

He asserted the size of investments in projects inside the country is just average despite the National Assembly’s approval of huge internal investment budgets and efforts exerted by the parliamentary Budget and Final Account Committee in eliminating obstacles to the implementation of these projects. Furthermore, MP Mohammed Hayef submitted questions to Finance Minister Dr Nayef Al-Hajraf about the consumer loan policies of the Central Bank of Kuwait and the level of compliance among local banks.

He said some local banks are implementing incorrect policies and increasing loan interest rates, adding to the financial burdens of a significant layer of the Kuwaiti society. Therefore, he wants to know in detail the policies of the Central Bank regarding consumer loans.

He also asked about the total amount of loans granted to citizens, number of loans granted, interest rates and number of citizens who failed to pay their monthly installments. For those unable to pay monthly, he asked if an aid plan is presented to them to ease their financial burdens, if there are reports on banks violating the policies of the Central Bank, and measures taken against them.

By Ahmed Al-Naqeeb Arab Times Staff

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