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Kuwait emir opens new parliament, calls for austerity

Kuwait estimates a budget deficit of 12.2 billion dinars ($40.2 billion) as a result of the fallling oil prices
The Emir of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad [File photo]
The Emir of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad [File photo]

Kuwait's Emir Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah on Sunday opened his country's new parliament, calling for a reduction in public spending in the face of falling oil prices.

Addressing lawmakers, the emir said the drop in oil prices has caused a huge budget deficit in the Gulf state.

"Cutting public spending has become inevitable, which requires taking deliberate measures to deal with the deficit," he said.

The address came one day after Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Mubarak Al-Sabah formed a new government on Saturday.

The oil-rich Kuwait estimates a budget deficit of 12.2 billion dinars ($40.2 billion) as a result of the fallling oil prices.

In March, the Kuwaiti government approved a reform plan that included imposing taxes and rationalizing spending in an effort to tackle its budget deficit.

Oil prices had fallen from $120 per barrel in mid-2014 to around $27 earlier this year, before going up again to around $50 per barrel.

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