KUWAIT CITY, Feb 9: It is unfair to make the people victims of the global economic downturn. Therefore, the state officials should find means of resolving the problem with full transparency since they are the ones in charge. This was disclosed by participants at a recent seminar titled “Viewpoints on Subsidies” organized by MP Ahmad Lari at his diwaniya, reports Al-Seyassah daily.
In his remark, MP Jamal Al-Omar declared that Kuwaitis over the years have been aware of problems associated with the national revenue.
To this end, he said the National Assembly should arrange series of sessions to find alternative sources of revenues to oil, which is the sole source of income for the country. He stated the cost of production was minimal in the past — as against high returns, indicating oil was sold for $20 per barrel when the cost of production was $8 and the profit stood at $12, which was good for the country.
“An ordinary citizen whose monthly salary is KD 1,000 will have difficulty meeting the market standard in this inflation. We are concerned about the way Kuwaitis will enjoy their income while they cannot withstand the inflation associated with the removal of subsidies,” he concluded.
Meanwhile, the Director of Arab Planning Institute Dr Bader Malallah said he will try to be optimistic about the situation, considering statements issued over the subsidy removal and economic crisis. He reminded the government and the National Assembly have been pledging commitment to ensure the welfare of citizens and expatriates is paramount in the scheme of affairs, and not made victims of the economic crisis.
He declared that salaries and wages in the national budget is about KD 10 billion, while the subsidy requires almost KD 3 billion. Therefore the removal of subsidy and rationalization of expenditures will serve the interest of citizens.
Convener of the seminar MP Lari pointed out that the parliament was surprised when the islands upgrading project was presented to His Highness the Amir and the National Assembly received the Al-Hariri City project through ‘parachute’ thereafter.
He hopes upgrading of the islands will be supported and invested well, affirming that the falling oil price is not a technical decision but political. He is optimistic that all governments of the region will overcome the problem through cooperation.
Meanwhile, during a seminar about the collapse of oil prices and its negative impact on the economy of the country, former minister of finance Bader Al-Humaidhi said one of the officials from the World Bank asked him if the country is on a suicide mission because he wondered how it is possible for the country to increase the fuel prices when the prices of fuel and other petroleum products are decreasing regionally and internationally.
He indicated that KD300 million is not a big amount to reduce from the state budget, adding that more than KD3 billion is being spent on subsidies while about 17 percent of the budget is spent on state expenditures, which is very low. Al-Humaidhi revealed that the MPs are demanding the government find other sources of incomes besides oil, warning against touching the pockets of citizens
By Abdulnasser Al-Aslami and Abdullah Al-Othman Al-Seyassah Staff