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Minister given ultimatum to present subsidies removal steps

KUWAIT: Frustration in the parliament over the government’s rejection of increasing the children’s allowance could escalate into a grilling motion against Finance Minister Anas Al-Saleh within two weeks.

The only way for the minister to avoid that is if his ministry takes effective steps to remove subsidies from services that the state provides but citizens do not benefit from them, according to ‘parliamentary sources’ quoted by Al-Rai daily yesterday.

During a closed parliamentary session last month, the Cabinet argued that increasing citizens’ benefits was not an option given the status of the budget, which it claimed could fall into deficit unless steps are taken to curb spending.

The government also suggested ways of rationalizing subsidization of fuel and energy as a way to cut spending, an argument that received several supporting voices from the parliament.

But it seems that MPs want to see those plans put into effect as soon as possible, as suggested by the grilling motion currently in preparation. “Several lawmakers are already preparing the draft for the motion which will address the government’s decision to reject a bill that stipulates an increase to the monthly KD 50 per child allowance, coupled with lack of steps to remove subsidies from some services,” said the sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

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