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Proposal to end food subsidies gains momentum in parliament

MPs propose up to KD 50 monthly allowances to replace subsidized food

KUWAIT: The Cabinet agreed to meet with the parliament’s financial committee in September to discuss a proposal calling for reviewing subsidies given by the state for public services. Sources said the parliamentary request includes a proposal calling for a new mechanism to present subsidies for services in order to save state funds and rationalize spending in the public budget.

The proposal calls for the state to cancel state-purchased food supplies that are sold to citizens at supply centers, according to the sources. With this, the centers will be closed and workers will be terminated or relocated to other departments. On the other hand, the state would give each married citizen who has a rental contract a financial allowance for the value of food supplies that may reach KD 40 to KD 50 monthly. They said the value of the allowance equals half the financial value allocated for the state to buy the supplies.

The sources said the same applies to gasoline prices, as MPs believe that the number of expat cars is double those of citizens, so they are benefiting more from gas prices. MPs propose that KD 20 be paid monthly to every Kuwaiti who has a driving license, as gas prices will be liberalized and sold at the same price in the Gulf or worldwide. MPs Ahmad Al-Fadhl, Safa Al-Hashem, Salah Khoursheed and other MPs have started to frame the parliamentary proposal and prepare details related to it, said the sources.

Earlier this year, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said that Kuwait needs to implement deeper reforms to secure adequate savings for future generations, urging the Gulf state to gradually phase out fuel, electricity, and water subsidies and transfers.

In other news, informed sources said MP Riyadh Al-Adasani plans to submit a grilling motion against Interior Minister Sheikh Khalid Al-Jarrah Al-Sabah before the upcoming parliamentary term scheduled to start at the end of October. They said Adasani decided to prepare the grilling motion and not just threaten with it, and wants it to be the first grilling of the new term.

Adasani believes many grillings will be filed against ministers at the start of the term, and delaying this grilling means losing its value, the sources said. They added that Adasani plans to submit a new grilling against His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah, so he wants to finish with the interior minister early. MPs Abdulkareem Al-Kandari, Abdulwahhab Al-Babtain, Shuaib Al-Muwaizri and Mohammad Al-Mutair are ready to sign a no-confidence motion in support of Adasani’s grilling, according to the sources.

By A Saleh

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