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Kuwait considers cutting subsidies for citizens to save money

Kuwaiti healthy ministry workers prepare to scan expatriates living in Kuwait who returned from Egypt, Syria and Lebanon, as they arrive to a specified place to be tested for coronavirus in Kuwait City on March 12, 2020 [YASSER AL-ZAYYAT/AFP via Getty Images]
Kuwaiti healthy ministry workers prepare to scan expatriates living in Kuwait who returned from Egypt, Syria and Lebanon, as they arrive to a specified place to be tested for coronavirus in Kuwait City on March 12, 2020 [YASSER AL-ZAYYAT/AFP via Getty Images]

Kuwait’s minister of finance yesterday discussed economic reforms which include the gradual cutting of subsidies for citizens within the framework of measures to rescue public finances which have been hard hit by the coronavirus and a global drop in oil prices.

Addressing the cabinet, Barak Ali Al-Sheatan added that, under the plans, taxes on services provided to citizens would increase by 50 per cent and those for expatriates would rise 150 per cent. Reviews would also be put in place for subsidies provided by the government and taxes would be imposed gradually on corporate profits with a value added tax (VAT) being introduced on selective goods.

The number of citizens eligible for medical treatment abroad would also be cut by 50 per cent, he explained.

Kuwait’s budget deficit is expected to reach $55 billion, almost double its projected value at the start of the year. As a result, the Council of Ministers called on all ministries and government bodies to reduce their expenditure and cut project budgets during the current fiscal year 2021/2020 by 20 per cent, due to the repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic which has forced the country to shut down completely.

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