New Kuwaiti cabinet pledges economic reforms
The first session of the newly elected Kuwaiti parliament, held Saturday July 19, focused on the revitalization of the nation’s economy. This includes pushing through a privatization bill, a taxation law, and legislation allowing foreign oil firms to invest in the Emirate’s northern oilfields.
The opening session follows the appointment of 15 new cabinet members by Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah on Tuesday, July 15, bringing in six new figures to the government. Acting interim oil minister Sheikh Ahmed Al-Fahd Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah was handed the new portfolio of energy, combining the ministries of oil and electricity.
In addition to prioritizing the fight against terror, the Prime Minister pledged to focus on "stimulating the national economy and activating the role of the private sector and safeguarding riches, notably the country's oil riches," reported AFP.
The privatization bill, first proposed in 1992, is considered a crucial part of legislation for establishing economic reforms in Kuwait. With close to 90 percent of the emirate's total income coming from oil revenues, the state hopes the new policy will invigorate the private sector, which contributes to less than 25 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The bill will facilitate the sale of public services such as electricity, communications, public works and other services worth billions of dollars to local and foreign private investors. More than 93 percent of Kuwait’s 200,000-strong workforce is currently employed by the government. — (menareport.com)
© 2003 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)