Hike in budget for subsidies

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KD 36.9m allocated for farmers, fishermen

KUWAIT CITY, Aug 15: Official figures showed an increase in financial allocations for government subsidies in the general budget by about 34.7 percent, bringing their cost to KD 5.94 billion during the current year, compared to KD 4.41 billion during the last fiscal year, which is an increase of KD 1.532 billion, reports Al-Qabas daily.

According to the official data issued by the Ministry of Finance, the reason for the increase in the amounts allocated for subsidies is due to the following factors:-
■ Increasing the amount of partial payment of the dues of the Kuwait Petroleum Company.
■ Increasing student grants, and subsidies for food and construction materials. According to the visual presentation of the Ministry of Finance regarding the budget law for the 2023/2024 fiscal year, the amounts allocated for spending on subsidies will include several sectors such as:-

1 – Energy and fuel subsidies The total support provided for energy and fuel in the budget for the current fiscal year amounted to about KD 3.53 billion, an increase of KD 1.18 billion over the total support provided for this item in the previous year, which at that time amounted to KD 2.35 billion. This also includes fuel subsidies for Kuwait Airways Corporation.

2 – Educational support The government support for education amounted to about KD 965.3 million, an increase of KD 128.6 million compared to the support allocated for the same item in the last fiscal year, amounting to KD 836.7 million. The amounts spent in this item are directed to scholarships, tuition fees subsidies, student rewards, and summer and spring courses.

3 – Social support The government increased allocations for social support provided for social care, marriage grants, aid for unions and associations of public benefit, reduction of living costs (food supplies and building materials), the Public Authority for the Disabled Affairs and Zakat House subsidies to reach about KD 582.9 million in the current fiscal year, which is an increase of KD 60.2 million for the appropriations of the last fiscal year amounting to about KD 521.9 million.

4 – Housing support Housing support in the general budget allocated for spending on payment of rent, interest on real estate loans, and mortgage exemption expenses decreased by about KD 7.8 million, bringing the total allocation for it in the 2023/2024 budget to about KD 352.1 million, compared to the allocation of about KD 359.9 million for the same item last year.

5 – Health support The total amounts allocated for spending on health support in the general budget, which are the amounts allocated for spending on providing health services to citizens abroad, amounted to about KD 246.4 million, which is an increase of KD 53 million over last year’s allocations of KD 193.4 million.

6 – Economic support The economic support allocated in the general budget to provide support to the Central Bank of Kuwait in order to intervene in the money market witnessed a remarkable increase. Its total amounted to about KD 167 million, compared to KD 72.8 million allocated for the same purpose in the last fiscal year.

7 – Sports support In a trend that reflects the interest in sports activity in Kuwait, the government increased the support allocated to help sports clubs and local activities by about KD 19.2 million to reach KD 64.4 million, compared to about KD 45.2 million in the 2022/2023 fiscal year.

8 – Agricultural support An amount of KD 36.9 million has been allocated in the general budget to provide support to farmers and fishermen, which is an increase of KD 1.9 million over what was spent on them in the budget of last year.

Meanwhile, at a time when all economic studies confirm the necessity of directing government support to the eligible groups and achieving benefit from it, the biggest challenge remains in directing and spending support to improve the development of the quality of education, health services, productive sectors, research and development, as the increase in support that is not directed to those who are eligible has adverse effects on economic growth, causing high rates of unemployment and decreased productivity.

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