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How can salaries last 45 days?

One of the funniest scenes one can watch in any co-op society is that of a Kuwaiti person shopping on the last four or five days before his next salary. On those days, you would find the large shopping carts lined up outside the supermarket while the small red baskets are being used by everybody. One might even think that Kuwaitis have at last learned how to shop wisely and stopped buying things they do not need.

However, such wishful thinking soon vanishes the moment salaries are deposited in bank accounts and one would find a Kuwaiti pushing two shopping carts; yet still ask the cashier to wait till he picked up some more items, which only means that his civilized behavior on that last four or five days was only because he had used up his monthly salary within twenty or more days since receiving the previous one.

Therefore, I wonder, how will Kuwaitis ‘stretch’ those salaries that are hardly enough for a single month and make them last for 45 days?! - The period they would have to wait for before they get their August salaries that are supposed to pay for back to school needs. It is something good that the government fulfills its citizens’ needs and responds to them.

However, it would be much better if the government studied the consequences of such decisions beforehand. What can we do, then? As I said in a previous article, the solution lies in giving a twice-a-year government grant before Eid and before the start of school. Some people may disagree to giving grants since Kuwaitis already receive generous monthly salaries in addition to aids and allowances to some needy ones.

Huge chunks are monthly being bitten off their salaries for rent, car installment, maids’ salaries, house sustenance supplies in addition to a single monthly visit to a restaurant or a recreational kids’ center. All of these drain the salary at least four or five days before the following salary is deposited in banks.

We are a population of a little more than one million and government grants will not be in billions or even hundreds of millions. They would also reduce employees’ demands for pay hikes to face the rapidly growing cost of living. Finally, merchants and the private sector complain that the government does not support them. Well, grants given to citizens would entirely go to merchants and their stores and thus the government will have struck two birds with a single stone: help its citizens and support merchants.

— Translated by Kuwait Times

By Ghunaim Al-Zo’bi

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This article was published on 14/07/2015