KUWAIT CITY, Sept 7: A number of MPs have suggested raising service fees for expatriates to deal with the budget deficit caused by the falling global oil prices, reports Al-Rai daily.
MP Abdullah Al-Turaiji called for review of the cost of services rendered to expatriates, including fees for residency, visa and medical services. He stressed that Kuwait has never been mean with expatriates but recent deficit in State budget requires specific measures to keep the economic wheel moving, which requires turning to new sources of income.
He added the present situation affects the livelihood of citizens, especially the fuel price raise. He stressed the importance of demographic reform, adding “it’s illogical the expatriate population is three times bigger than the number of citizens while most expatriates are uneducated marginal laborers, posing social and security threats”.
For his part, MP Ahmed Al-Qudaibi said the fuel price raise has affected citizens and expatriates, adding the unstudied decision will give rise to many problems. MP Sultan Al-Leghaisam preferred checking funds transferred from Kuwait each year, noting about five billion dinars is transferred from Kuwait every year according to the most recent statistics of the Finance Ministry.
He called for investment opportunities to be given to expatriates to limit the amount of remittances. “Due to the present financial situation, there’s need to raise service charges, as part of measures to generate income from other sources for expatriates”, he noted. MP Hamad Al-Shahrani is of the view that service fees collected from expatriates should not be raised beyond moderate, stressing “a distinction should be made among the categories of expatriates based on education and professional level, while favoring our brothers — the Arab expatriates”.
He noted a large number of non Arab expatriates are marginal workers who engage in immoral activities, according to statistics. Al-Shahrani pointed to demographic reform as the fundamental solution, as it affects many other issues in the country, including security, traffic and social life.