Taxes, paid parking and road tolls on the way?

KUWAIT: Kuwait wants to impose taxes on luxury items, set up paid parking meters and introduce road tolls to generate additional government revenues. Other measures being mulled over by the northern Arabian Gulf states include a review of the pricing of goods and public services, and of the fees collected by the state for services and land rental, Kuwaiti daily Al-Rai reported yesterday.

Currently, most public services are offered for free while goods are subsidized. A lift of the subsidies, partial or full, would boost non-oil income for the state, the daily added.

The government might also impose taxes on all companies, instead of confining them to non- Kuwaitis. Kuwaiti companies would thus contribute to the cost of the goods and services subsidized by the state such as water and electricity as well the infrastructure.

The companies will also contribute to paying the cost of the services provided by the state to their expatriate workers. The plan also includes the introduction of a value-added tax (VAT) that will help limit the propagation of an extravagant lifestyle with a negative impact on families and a high risk of crippling debts.

Under the plan, the government could introduce a toll on some highways, with the collected money used to repair and enhance the road infrastructure and for maintenance. Kuwait will also work on collecting all arrears dues from Kuwaitis and expatriates and could impose fines on those who do not pay the state on time.

A new culture to honor financial commitments and to pay bills and fines on time will be introduced. Reports also surfaced recently that the government was planning on installing paid, privatized parking meters around Kuwait as another indirect tax on the population that would generate income for the government. Kuwait, and fellow Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, are expected to earn in 2015 around $300 billion less than when they made in 2014 as a result of the dramatic oil price slump. —Al-Rai

This article was published on 30/08/2015