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PAI’s refusal to reduce license fees/rents confuses industrial sector

‘Private sector not yet benefited from any incentives’

KUWAIT CITY, July 29: Despite recommendations by the incentive committee and the Cabinet’s decision to exempt tenants from paying rents and license fees for plots or markets, the industrial sector is still in a confused state due to the refusal of the Public Authority for Industry to make amend or reduce dues of factories and industrial plots, reports Al-Qabas daily quoting informed sources.

They explained that a large number of factory owners were surprised at the end of last week by the refusal of the Public Authority for Industry to reduce the fees prescribed to them. When the authority was asked about the Cabinet’s decision to exempt tenants from fees, it indicated that it had not received any decisions in this regard. Therefore, the beneficiaries must pay these dues in full and on time in order to avoid any legal repercussions.

This position reveals many governmental contradictions about implementing incentive plans that would help the private sector to deal with the negative repercussions of the precautionary measures adopted to confront the COVID-19 crisis.

Despite the fact that Kuwait was ranked among the most stringent countries in terms of the preventive procedures adopted to lock down the country and the decisions that negatively affected its economic activities, it is also considered to be one of the least countries providing incentives in support of economic activities and sectors.

The sources said, “Despite the announcement about many incentive plans and actions, the private sector has not yet benefited from any of them, either due to the difficult procedures accompanying these incentive benefits or because none of them have been applied on the ground.

“Perhaps the delay in implementing the measures is the main reason behind the resignation of the Governor of the Central Bank of Kuwait from the chairmanship of the committee formed to develop incentive pillars for the local economy. The plans and procedures were finalized and delivered to the relevant authorities but no serious decisions were taken to implement them”.

It is worth mentioning that the Cabinet had issued its decision No. 615 earlier in May to instruct ministries and government agencies to exempt the tenants from paying rents or fees for licensing of public plots or markets and other activities that were suspended as a precautionary measure to counter the spread of the COVID-19 crisis throughout the period such procedures were enforced, provided this does not extend beyond that period and taking into account verification by each authority of applying the exemption terms and conditions.

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