Kuwait Government Agrees With Proposal to Tax Expats’ Remittances

Published March 28th, 2018 - 08:20 GMT
Kuwait government agrees with a proposal to tax remittances made by expatriates and denied that the Central Bank raised objections. (Shutterstock)
Kuwait government agrees with a proposal to tax remittances made by expatriates and denied that the Central Bank raised objections. (Shutterstock)

Official sources said the government agrees with a proposal to tax remittances made by expatriates and denied that the Central Bank raised objections during a meeting of the parliamentary financial affairs committee to discuss the matter.

“What the Central Bank suggested was taking more time to discuss the details of parliamentary proposals to avoid derailing the entire issue,” the sources said.

The sources stressed that represented by the Kuwait Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the private sector had a different viewpoint, which was taken into full consideration and a compromise was reached by agreeing to categorize and reduce the fee value instead of the suggested five percent charge on all remittances regardless of the amount. “It was agreed to collect a two percent charge for amounts up to KD 100, three percent for sums between KD 100 and 500 and four percent for transfers more than KD 500,” the sources explained, noting that this was the final vision that will be discussed further during the committee’s meeting next week.

In addition, the sources warned that the chamber has fears that the fees might have a negative impact on attracting skilled labor to Kuwait, which was refuted by the parliamentary committee, which argued that such fees or taxes will help get rid of marginal labor already overburdening public services. The sources also noted that the argument now was how to control possible attempts to avoid paying the fees, saying that imposing them only on expats might lead to “agreements” with citizens to send the money on behalf of expats.

“Both the committee and the government need to settle this before putting the law into practice, otherwise, the tax might be also imposed on citizens,” remarked the sources, noting the bill will be discuss in parliament in this term to take effect by October if passed.

Budget deficit

The state budget deficit as of the end of February (11 months of the fiscal year) reached KD 2.52 billion after deducting KD 1.44 billion for the Future Generations Fund, according to the finance ministry’s monthly report. The report added the budget deficit dropped by KD 211 million in February compared to January, when it was KD 2.73 billion.

The report explained the drop in the deficit due to growth in revenues, as KD 1.7 billion was added to increase revenues from KD 12.7 billion at the end of January to reach KD 14.4 billion by the end of February. On the other hand, the report showed that expenses increased by KD 937 million by the end of February to reach KD 13.6 billion, compared to KD 12.7 billion by the end of January, which makes the difference between February revenues and expenses reach KD 758 million.

Students fainted

Over 10 ambulances were dispatched yesterday to a private girls school in Khaitan, where a power outage took place during the second period without any backup plan. A large number of students fainted and were rushed to Farwaniya Hospital for treatment.
Chairman of the Public Authority for Food and Nutrition Essa Al-Kandari issued a directive exempting seasonal foodstuff outlets from the conditions mentioned in the ministerial decision number 25/2017, provided they get temporary licenses according to certain conditions. Kandari explained that the conditions for the temporary licenses should include full observation of hygiene conditions and protecting food items from spoilage, that workers should have valid health certificates, that they fully observe personal hygiene conditions, full commitment to the license tenure, activity, location and getting all the relevant approvals.

Exceptions

The Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MoCI) urged the owners of mobile vending trucks already engaged in activities included in the ministerial resolution number 693/2017 to check with the ministry and legalize their statuses, according to some conditions. MoCI assistant undersecretary for companies and licenses affairs Ahmed Al-Fares said the ministry already started receiving applicants to issue licenses for these trucks from March 11. He added that the resolution set a six-month grace period effective March 11 for those who had been already operating the trucks to legalize their status before the end of September to avoid legal accountability. He added the ministry will inspect the license once the grace period is over.

Marine wildlife

As part of its fourth season of surveying and documenting marine wildlife in Kuwait, Kuwait Environment Protection Society (KEPS) used a helicopter to scan various locations to the northeast of Kuwait, said KEPS’ wildlife committee member Dr Ra’fat Mesak, noting that the chopper took off from Ali Al-Salem airbase and flew over Subbiya and Boubyan creeks. Mesak added that the survey flight also covered Al-Melh and Al-Tha’lab creeks – the two main entrances to Mubarak Al-Kabeer sanctuary – which covers around a third of Boubyan island (around 51 hectares) and was declared as one of 2,200 international wetlands on Sept 5, 2015. Mesak stressed that the aerial scanning also covered Meskan, Failaka and Um Al-Naml islands, Shuwaikh Port, Oshairej cape and the western side of Kuwait Bay, before landing back at the base. , KEPS Chairperson Wejdan Al-Oqab said the flight was in collaboration with the ministry of defense and the air force.

Iraqi delegation

Ministry of Electricity and Water’s (MEW) undersecretary yesterday met a delegation from the Iraqi ministry of electricity headed by his counterpart Adel Al-Dulaimi to discuss linking Kuwait, Iraq and GCC power grids.

By A Saleh and Meshaal Al-Enezi


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