By B Izzak
KUWAIT: MPs said on Sunday they will strongly oppose any government plans to impose any form of taxation and raising charges for public services, adding they will take action against such plans. Meanwhile, the Cabinet is due to approve its four-year program of action on Monday, which envisages major political and economic reforms and calls for imposing taxes and reducing the number of expats living in the country.
MP Abdulkarim Al-Kandari said that as “we opposed plans for taxation in the past, it will be our position always”, pledging he will resort to questioning the government if it sought to speed up the process of passing legislation for taxation. MP Obaid Al-Wasmi said there will be no taxes imposed before the government manages to retrieve all public funds stolen by officials, estimated to be in the billions of dollars.
Government ministers informed a National Assembly panel last week that the government’s four-year program of action will be debated and approved during the Cabinet’s weekly meeting on Monday, and then will be sent to the National Assembly for debate. The government’s program, which runs until 2026, pledges to cooperate with the Assembly to issue dozens of legislation to introduce major political, economic, social and demographic reforms that call for imposing taxes, amending the population structure, changing the electoral constituencies and many others.
Under the program, the government pledges to resolve the decades-old problem of building houses for citizens, saying it will carry out projects to resolve 75 percent of the problem by the last year of the program. As part of political reforms, the program pledges to set up an independent body to oversee elections, amending the electoral constituencies and the election system and revising laws governing public freedoms.
The program also pledges to retrieve all public funds stolen by former officials using administrative and judicial means, in addition to issuing legislation to embolden national efforts to fight corruption. Regarding the oil sector, the program plans to develop the Supreme Petroleum Council and Kuwait Petroleum Corporation and establish government companies to boost refining of crude oil.
The program calls to revise charges on public services and impose taxes on profits of Kuwaiti and foreign companies operating in the country. The program pledges to “amend the distortion in the demographic structure”, regulating the residency affairs of foreigners and introducing a smart system for the recruitment of foreign workers. The program also pledges to fundamentally resolve the problem of over 100,000 stateless people, locally known as bedoons.