A Kuwaiti court has asked the government to abolish an increase in petrol prices less than a month after it took effect, it has been reported.
The price hike, ranging from about 40 to 80 per cent depending on the type, met stiff opposition from lawmakers and the public when introduced on September 1 to combat the oil revenue slump.
The administrative court did not immediately give the reasons for its ruling, which was based on a petition filed by lawyer Nawaf Al Fuzai. However, the ruling can still be challenged by the government at the appeals and supreme courts, according to AFP.
The development came after Kuwaiti lawmakers on Thursday requested an emergency session of parliament to debate the price increase.
In their motion, lawmakers said the move had resulted in a rise in the prices of commodities and goods. MPs want the government to compensate Kuwaiti citizens who comprise around 30 percent of the 4.3 million population, which also includes about three million foreigners.
The cabinet has said the decision is part of a series of measures to meet a budget deficit due to a sharp drop in oil revenues that previously made up around 95 per cent of the country’s total income.
Other Gulf states including the UAE have already raised fuel and electricity prices by reducing previously lucrative subsidies.
In April, Kuwait’s parliament approved a government-sponsored bill to raise electricity and water prices paid by foreign residents and businesses, but exempted Kuwaiti citizens.
The Opec member recorded a budget shortfall of 4.6 billion dinars ($15.3 billion or Dh56 billion) in the fiscal year which ended on March 31.
It was the first shortfall since the fiscal year to March 1999.
By Eleanor Dickinson
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