Fi­nance Min­is­ter to brief panel on bud­get deficit

In­te­rior, hu­man rights pan­els to dis­cuss Bedoon is­sue

Kuwait Times - - FRONT PAGE - By B Iz­zak

KUWAIT: Fi­nance Min­is­ter Anas Al-Saleh will brief the Na­tional As­sem­bly Fi­nan­cial and Eco­nomic Af­fairs Com­mit­tee to­day with the gov­ern­ment pro­gram for fi­nanc­ing the ex­pected bud­get deficit due to the drop in oil prices. The min­is­ter is ex­pected to ex­plain to the com­mit­tee mem­bers gov­ern­ment plans to meet the bud­get deficit and its plans to is­sue con­ven­tional bonds and Is­lamic sukuk as a way of tap­ping into the debt mar­ket to fi­nance the deficit.

The gov­ern­ment is pro­ject­ing a deficit of KD 7 bil­lion be­fore de­duct­ing 10 per­cent of rev­enues in fa­vor of the fu­ture gen­er­a­tions fund which the gov­ern­ment nor­mally adds to ex­pen­di­tures. But ac­tual fi­nances, par­tic­u­larly rev­enues have so far been higher than pro­jec­tions. The gov­ern­ment has pro­jected rev­enues to be at KD 12.2 bil­lion for the whole fis­cal year 2015/2016 which ends on March 31 next year.

But af­ter six months, rev­enues reached KD 7.8 bil­lion due to high oil prices in the first quar­ter of the fis­cal year -April to June. If in­come con­tin­ues at the same level, to­tal rev­enues will be higher than pro­jected and this means that the bud­get will be lower. Na­tional Bank of Kuwait said in re­port last week that Kuwait will post its first bud­get deficit this year af­ter 16 con­sec­u­tive years of sur­plus. But it es­ti­mated the deficit to be much lower than pro­jected. Saleh told re­porters yes­ter­day the gov­ern­ment will not can­cel any mega de­vel­op­ment project be­cause of the drop in rev­enues. He also said that the gov­ern­ment will is­sue bonds and sukuk to bor­row funds to fi­nance the deficit. But he gave no time frame for the process.

Head of the In­te­rior and De­fense Com­mit­tee M Sul­tan AlShem­mari said the com­mit­tee will dis­cuss dur­ing this term the is­sue of state­less peo­ple, lo­cally known as Bedoons, in ad­di­tion to draft laws on elec­tion and pris­ons. The law­maker said the com­mit­tee will dis­cuss a mech­a­nism for nat­u­ral­iza­tion and will in­vite In­te­rior Min­is­ter Sheikh Mo­ham­mad AlKhaled Al-Sabah to dis­cuss the is­sue of Bedoons.

The com­mit­tee will also dis­cuss with the head of the Bedoons depart­ment Saleh Al-Fad­ha­lah a pro­posal to solve the Bedoons is­sue he calls the roadmap to solv­ing Bedoons prob­lem. The com­mit­tee will also dis­cuss is­sues re­lated to the elec­tion law be­sides sev­eral other is­sues. In a re­lated de­vel­op­ment, the Na­tional As­sem­bly hu­man rights com­mit­tee will study to­day a draft law propos­ing a set of so­cial and civil rights for bedoons.

Mean­while, the lib­eral Kuwait Demo­cratic Fo­rum (KDF) said yes­ter­day that the so­lu­tion to the coun­try’s do­mes­tic prob­lems is by ac­ti­vat­ing and re­spect­ing the con­sti­tu­tion and the ac­ti­va­tion of the role of in­sti­tu­tions. In a state­ment on the an­niver­sary of is­su­ing the con­sti­tu­tion in 1962, KDF said that those who wrote the con­sti­tu­tion had the ob­jec­tive of see­ing Kuwait be­come a mod­ern civil state gov­erned by the con­sti­tu­tion and law but the re­sult has been the op­po­site as the coun­try has slipped into dis­putes and prob­lems.

KUWAIT: His High­ness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ah­mad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah meets Di­rec­tor Gen­eral of the In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund (IMF) Christine Lagarde. — KUNA (See Page 2)

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