Kuwait lawmakers at odds over expat focused price increases

Published:  3 Apr at 6 PM
Want to get involved? Become a Featured Expat and take our interview.
Become a Local Expert and contribute articles.
Get in touch today!
The recent surge in prices of expat-focused goods and services is bad news for foreign workers in the emirate, and is stirring controversy amongst both the foreign and Kuwaiti communities.

Coupled with increasing links to Kuwait’s demographic imbalance, blame for everything from traffic jams to overcrowded hospitals and a lack of job opportunities for locals, the singling out of the expat sector for price increases fits in with a disturbing trend. Kuwaitis’ feelings on the situation are split between those urging the government to handle the issue sensitively and those justifying the developments as efforts to address the budget deficit or the ‘conservation of consumption’.

Those hoping for restraint are saying expatriates come from diverse backgrounds and should therefore be treated differently, with reforms based on comprehensive structures rather than increased charges imposed amid poor service levels and complicated bureaucracy. Also being mentioned is the financial affect on expats of unnecessarily increased charges and the possibility of many deciding to leave as a result.

On the other side is Dr Wael al Hassawi, the head of the Ibn Khaldoun Strategic Studies Centre, who’s urging the government to continue with the increases whilst rationalising them by linking to an intended decrease in consumption. Increasing charges, he says, isn’t bad in itself if it leads to conservation of power and other economic actions. Well-known politician Dr Ahmad al Munayes has another view, saying economic reform is a good thing if it’s comprehensive rather than focused on increased expenses for one, albeit majority, sector of the community.

At the same time, increasingly well-known and newly elected lawmaker Safa al Hashem has proposed yet another strategy aimed at slashing the number of expats in the emirate. This time, it’s expat driving licenses, without which no foreigner is allowed to purchase a vehicle. Determined to make a name for herself, she’s now proposing a one year ban on the issuance of licenses to expats, with the suspension to be renewed every subsequent year until Kuwait’s traffic woes are dealt with on a permanent basis.

Driving licenses already issued to foreigners, she adds, should be linked to work permits, and should include a stated and confirmed profession in order to reduce the chance of abuses or forgeries. She’s also in favour of no foreign driver being granted a license if he cannot show his home country driving permit together with an endorsement from the Kuwaiti Embassy and foreign ministry. Also forbidden would be the purchase of more than one car by expats working in the emirate.

Source: Gulf News
Like this news?

Comments » No published comments just yet for this article...

Feel free to have your say on this item. Go on... be the first!

Tell us Your Thoughts On This Piece:

Your Name *
Email * (not published, needs verification one time only)
  • Facebook
  • Follow us on Twitter
  • RSS feed
  • Facebook

Latest Headlines

News Links

News Archive