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Govt MPs meet to discuss new fees on expatriates

KUWAIT: Could expatriates soon face the reality of paying more for public services?

KUWAIT: A government-parliamentary meeting will be held in September to prepare new financial fees on services and review subsidies and rations, informed sources said. The government is in communication with MPs to adopt a method to achieve economic reforms including imposing new fees on expatriates and services presented to them as other Gulf countries have done, the sources explained. The start will be by imposing health insurance on visitors, they said, adding that the parliamentary-government agreement is very clear and it is certain that fees will be imposed on health services for expats residing in Kuwait, and not only visitors.

Meanwhile, the sources said that the executive and legislative authorities are not in agreement on implementing health fees and banning expats from treatment at public hospitals, because the health insurance hospitals are not ready yet; and those hospitals will not be able to treat expats without the participation of public hospitals. Kuwait has plans to build up to three hospitals in the future to treat expatriates insured by a new insurance policy that would replace the current KD50-a-year insurance plan that entitles foreigners for treatment at public hospitals. Political discussions have intensified in recent years to impose new fees on public services enjoyed by expats in Kuwait, and increase current charges as government officials and lawmakers scramble to mitigate the effect of the state budget deficit caused by the drop in oil prices.

By A Saleh

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