Kuwaiti lawmakers debate Kuwaitization by dumping all lower waged expats

Published:  16 May at 6 PM
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News about further increases in expat healthcare charges is being denied as fake by the Kuwaiti Health Ministry.

The ministry has since instructed healthcare centres and hospitals that no further increase in expat healthcare charges has been ordered since last year’s increase in October. Furthermore, the ministry has reiterated that doctors alone have the right to proscribe medicines to expatriates, adding these rules haven’t changed nor have the prices for medications.

The October 2017 rulings increased healthcare charges for expatriates whilst keeping all medical services free for Kuwaiti citizens. The resulting escelation in costs has hit hard on the expat community’s less well-paid members, with essential services such as radiology and admission to public hospitals becoming unaffordable for many. All expats in the emirate are also required to pay out for medical insurance when residence permits are granted or renewed.

In a related development, the minister in charge of the National Assembly for Kuwaitization in the workforce stated the reduction of the three million expats in the country is now a popular as well as a government aim. MP Khalil al-Saleh said the goal should be achieved simply by sacking unqualified expat workers both in government jobs and in other sectors as their high numbers constitute a continuing burden on the emirate.

However, the MP isn’t in favour of sacking highly skilled, experienced expat professionals, especially in sectors where there are no qualified Kuwaitis ready to take over. He added any decision involving ridding the country of foreign labour should specifically exclude those with much-needed expertise, even if they are over the age of 65.

Conflicting reports are emerging over plans to introduce VAT, thus bringing the emirate in line with the rest of the UAE and Saudi Arabia. The finance minister told lawmakers he is planning to approve a draft VAT law in October as there’s no time during the government’s present term to debate the unpopular issue. However, the head of parliament’s budget committee said he’d been told the tax would not be applied until 2021, also stating the ministry is calling for higher levels of excise duty to be applied to cigarettes and soft drinks as well as to power.
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