KuwaitOther News

MoCI clamps down on smuggling of subsidized goods

KUWAIT: The ministry of commerce and industry has affirmed that distribution of subsidized monthly food rations is controlled by an accurate electronic system as accountants from 51 cooperative store outlets were referred to the public prosecution after discrepancies were discovered in the quantities of subsidized items during inventory.

The ministry’s statement also came after Salmi border customs officers foiled an attempt to smuggle out large quantities of subsidized powdered milk, rice and oil with an estimated value of tens of thousands of dinars in trucks heading to several Arab countries, according to a MoCI source.

Kuwait Supply Co distributes rations to cooperative societies, which in turn deliver the products to beneficiaries at their respective branches, the ministry said in a press release late Sunday. In case there is any shortage in the commodities, the officials of the concerned cooperatives face legal action without any financial burden to state funds.

The ministry’s inspectors verify the accuracy of cooperatives’ inventories regularly and referred 51 co-op branches to the public prosecution recently, the statement said. There are clear-cut ministerial decrees that ban the sale of subsidized ration commodities to illegible persons or entities, whether inside or outside the country, it reminded. The ministry added that it is working with the ministry of social affairs to Kuwaitize administrative positions at all cooperative societies in line with state policy.

The ministry source told Al-Rai Arabic daily said strict commerce ministry measures prevent smuggling, yet there will still be such acts – at less than one percent. He said subsidized items are only dispensed according to the recipient’s civil ID, while the ministry carries out regular inventories, and if there is any shortage, the cooperative’s accountant will be referred to prosecution.

The source said some of those eligible to receive subsidized items sell or give them away to expats, warning that this is not allowed. The source said that there is coordination with the ministry of social affairs to Kuwaitize administrative jobs at branches of subsidized supplies to stop employing non-Kuwaitis there to control distribution and prevent waste, claiming that Kuwaitis are “more honest in administrative posts”. The source said the presence of any discrepancy in stocks is tantamount to squandering of public funds. – Agencies

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