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Kuwait works to ensure construction materials’ subsidies reach benefactors

KUWAIT: This archive photo shows a government house under construction at the Jaber Al-Ahmad City. – KUNA photos

KUWAIT: In light of decree 232/ 2018, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry is working diligently to ensure that construction materials’ subsidies were reaching benefactors directly and not used in an illicit manner to create a black market. In 2018, KD 125 million (around $412.5 million) worth of subsidies were given by the ministry in a clear indication towards its mission to eradicate malice use of funding.

Head of subsidies department at the ministry Salah Al-Rashidi said that the ministry was monitoring prices of constructional materials to make sure that no ill practices were taking place. Decree 232 aims to create more options for citizens for their constructional needs, revealed Al-Rashidi who noted that subsidies were now paid not only for limestone and paints, but also extended to other materials such as electrical cables, ceramics, porcelain, water and heat insulators, and so on.

KD 30,000 per citizen

In accordance with the ministry’s regulations, subsidies for constructional materials should not exceed KD 30,000 per citizen who is given KD 8,460 (around $27,000) for 50 tons of steel, 100 meter of white stone, 2,000 bags of cement, and 450 meters of ready-mixed concrete. The ministry also offers 15,000 cement blocks at around KD 1,920 (around $6,300) KD 5,000 (around $16,500) for central air-condition, KD 800 ($2,600) for outer paint material, and KD 1,300 ($4,290) for limestone. All these facilities are made available for citizens who have to meet several conditions, indicated Rashidi, affirming that subsidies by the ministry were given to ensure that the materials were available in a legit manner.

Meanwhile, speaking on the ills of a secondary or black market for construction material, Khaled Al-Otaibi, head of the quality development team, a voluntary group, could not stress enough the negative impact of the presence of such market. Though providing more options by the ministry to the citizen is a good step, it would be advisable to add more materials to the subsidies list to prevent others from taking advantage of citizens, Otaibi affirmed. By doing so, Kuwaiti nationals could fully benefit from the government constructional loan, which currently barely covers the need for house construction, he added.

Citizens’ needs

The issue of house construction all boils down to the needs of citizens. Mohammad Al-Mutawa, a Kuwaiti national, said that specifying certain materials that meet the subsidies criteria might lead certain individuals to sell subsidized goods that they were not in need of creating a debacle. Selling material to other house owners within the boundaries of the neighborhood should be considered as a black market activity, he indicated, saying that instead of wasting material, it was put into good use, a matter that should be applauded and not frowned upon.

On the flipside of the coin, citizen Khaled Al-Yaseen praised the government for providing subsidies on basic construction material, saying that it enabled him to construct a house based on his needs. The government loan in addition to subsidies is a great deal for citizens and it will enable them to build adequate dwells, he added. – KUNA

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