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Tuesday , December 1 2020

No Constitutional equality protection in singling out expats for imposing tax on remittance

KUWAIT CITY, April 1: The parliamentary Financial and Economics Affairs Committee on Monday discussed the proposal to impose tax on international money transfers, during which the committee reiterated there is no constitutional stipulation for citizens and expatriates to be equal in this regard despite the opposing view of its legislative and legal affairs counterpart.

The committee based its statement on the opinion of constitutional experts who affirmed that the terms ‘equality’ and ‘justice’ in the Constitution do not cover general impartiality, which refers to legal justice and equality in accordance with particularities of the judicial system.

Article Two of the bill is based on Article Nine of the Constitution stating that “the family is the cornerstone of society. It is founded on religion, morality and patriotism. Law shall preserve the integrity of the family, strengthen its ties, and protect under its support motherhood and childhood.”

In addition, Article 29 of the Constitution stipulates:

(1) All people are equal in human dignity and in public rights and duties before the law, without distinction to race, origin, language, or religion.

(2) Personal liberty is guaranteed. Therefore, the committee argued that imposing taxes on money transferred by expatriates to other countries through legal channels does not violate regulations on equality and justice; considering Article 48 of the Constitution stipulates that “payment of taxes and public imposts is a duty in accordance with the law, which regulates exemption of small incomes from taxes in such a way as to maintain the minimum standard of living.”

In another development, MP Safa Al-Hashem finds it perplexing that the government neglects some independent authorities while coddling others. She compared this phenomenon to a dysfunctional family in which some children are neglected while others are provided with their every need. She stressed that proper management of these independent authorities would have solved many national issues.

However, in the recent past, officials appointed their own people in positions they want. This led to ‘over employment’ in coddled authorities; hence, there is conflict of interests while their responsibilities and functions are similar to that of other authorities, she added.

She said there is no coordination between the concerned ministry and authorities, citing as an example the manner by which the Ministry of Public Works deals with the Public Authority for Roads and Transportation (PART). She asserted, “These institutions are like enemies and they work autonomously.”

The MP pointed out that PART cannot complete its management, financial and technical infrastructures because there are other authorities whose departments need to be transferred to PART; but the transfer was not done due to bureaucracy, manipulation and political weight of these authorities because the Cabinet support them. If the situation is not like this, the minister of finance, who is in charge of State planning, could easily transfer the departments to PART, she added.

She mentioned another example – the existence of five different authorities in charge of implementing the Family Abuse Law and all five confirmed they have shelters for victims of family abuse but they do not know anything about each other.

By Ahmed Al-Naqeeb Arab Times Staff

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