Govt keen on equality among citizens over consumer loans

KUWAIT: The government reaffirmed yesterday keenness on enforcing justice and equality among all citizens, while also preventing any measure that would undermine the national economy, following a briefing by the state’s top banker. The government was reacting to a briefing by Governor of the Central Bank of Kuwait Mohammad Al-Hashel on consumer loans, and explained that less than one percent of debtors are experiencing trouble in repayments.

Hashel said the total value of consumer loans is KD 989 million ($3.253 billion), while the total value of housing loans is KD 12 billion ($39.5 billion), a statement by Deputy Premier and Minister of State for Cabinet Anas Al-Saleh said. Hashel said the number of debtors is 552,000 people, but only 4,677 of them, or less than one percent, have trouble repaying their loans.

The Cabinet members also discussed the government’s efforts to address the situation of some people who were unable to repay their loans, through the establishment of a special fund through which the government allocated around KD 800 million ($2.63 billion) to address the financial situation of 34,174 people. In a previous statement, Executive Director of the supervision sector at the Central Bank Waleed Al-Awadhi had said there are 429,000 Kuwaiti debtors, who represent 90 percent of the workforce under the age of 50.

On Saturday, around 400 people gathered in Irada Square opposite the National Assembly to call upon HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah to write off their loans. A large number of lawmakers have said they will support such a move when it comes up for debate in the Assembly, while the government insists it will not scrap the loans. On Sunday, MP Thamer Al-Sumait said the living conditions of Kuwaiti citizens must occupy the top of priorities of lawmakers and that the government must carefully understand the message of the Kuwaiti people. – Agencies