Supporting Kuwait-made products a gateway to diversifying economy

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KUWAIT CITY, Aug 16: Economists and industrialists have reached a consensus on the necessity of supporting the local product as a means to diversify the economy, reports Al-Qabas daily. Experts emphasize the importance of giving priority to local products in government tenders and projects, particularly as this encourages young individuals to establish productive industrial ventures that contribute to job creation.

Hussein Ali Al-Kharafi, Saadoun Abdullah Ali, Abdullah Al-Baijan and Nasser Badr Al-Sharhan

Additionally, it stimulates the growth of small and medium enterprises and promotes the creation of companies that add value to the economy. Several industrialists highlighted the importance of providing robust support to local industries to ensure their growth and development.

They cautioned against measures that could reduce the preference given to local products, asserting that such actions could have negative repercussions for Kuwaiti factories, affecting both productivity and pricing. They pointed out that many countries employ various measures to protect and promote their local industries, such as imposing protective duties on imported goods or prioritizing domestic products in projects. Amid discussions about restricting local factory products while customs duties are imposed on Kuwaiti goods in some Gulf and regional markets, industrialists expressed their opposition to such measures.

Hussein Ali Al-Kharafi, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Federation of Kuwaiti Industries, emphasized that giving preference to local products in government tenders is not a new concept. The government has been prioritizing Kuwaiti factories for years, recognizing their significance in supporting the national economy and fostering social stability. Al-Kharafi explained that the percentage of preference for local products is outlined in the Tenders Law of 2016, which was amended in 2019 to increase the preference percentage from 15% to 20%, reflecting the government’s recognition of the crucial role played by local industries. Al-Kharafi also noted that while many Gulf countries favor their own products in projects, Kuwait has been moving in the opposite direction by imposing restrictions on the sector. He urged the government and the National Assembly to focus on supporting industries and encouraging their growth through the implementation of existing laws that prioritize local products.

Saadoun Abdullah Ali, former Chairman of the Board of Directors of Qurain Petrochemical Industries Company, stressed the necessity for the government to recognize the importance of the Kuwaiti product and prioritize it in actual tender processes. He mentioned the fluctuating standards set by project consultants, which sometimes result in the exclusion of Kuwaiti products due to deviations from required specifications. He suggested that the Tenders Law be revised to establish clear criteria for incorporating Kuwaiti industrial products in public tenders.

Abdullah Al-Baijan, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Kuwait Food Federation, emphasized the importance of supporting the local industry and cautioned against measures that could reduce preference for local products. He pointed out that certain countries have imposed fees on Kuwaiti exports while the same does not happen in Kuwait, and called for protection and support for the local industry on various fronts.

Nasser Badr Al-Sharhan, a member of the Board of Directors of the Federation of Kuwaiti Industries, emphasized that many countries globally prioritize and protect their industrial products, giving them precedence in local supplies and tenders. He highlighted that supporting the industrial sector is crucial for the national economy and for providing employment opportunities for citizens.

Al-Kharafi emphasized that several National Assembly members have shown support for the local product through proposed amendment laws, which reflect their commitment to elevate the status of the local industry and channel funds from state projects towards local investments rather than overseas ventures. Al-Sharhan noted that Kuwaiti industries have consistently demonstrated their resilience in times of crisis, acting as a dependable source to cover local market demands for essential products during emergencies, such as the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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