Guys, yesterday I told you chaos creates opportunities. Today, the government is not wasting any time since global oil prices fell a little over a year ago. Luckily for us in Kuwait, we have a wise government that sets our budget at $55 per barrel, though we sold it for many years for more than $100 and we accumulated more than 15 years of multibillion-dollar budget surpluses.
Thank God oil did not collapse completely, and on average did not collapse beyond our budget requirements. But still, the government has taken it as an opportunity to frighten us with stories of deficit after deficit after deficit. Now the new suggestion that Kuwait will face a deficit of KD 25 billion over the next five years. What if the prices of oil shoot up next year? Who knows, maybe things will improve.
Meanwhile, security is the issue on most people’s mind. Since people are more worried about security – especially with the recent attack on a mosque in Kuwait and the activity of Daesh all over the world and especially in our region – so this is another opportunity to exploit the chaos.
It seems the government is planning a far-reaching taxation program. Calling it service fees is just a nicer name for taxation. I don’t mind to be taxed, but in return I expect better quality services and transparency, which is the most important thing. Will we get that? And actually, the suggested increases in fees which Minister Anas Al-Saleh announced sounds to me to be a bit over-exaggerated. He actually said it will not affect citizens with fixed incomes. Excuse me, Mr Al-Saleh, 80 percent of the nation is on fixed incomes.
If you are saying that you will increase the fees for private schools up to 33 percent to 40 percent, do you think that these school owners will really pay this and not increase tuition? Same thing applies to private universities. And what about the co-ops? You suggested they pay an increase of up to 50 percent. The next day on the shelf, I assure you the item that was KD 1 will be KD 4. So how is that not affecting fixed-income people in Kuwait?
Perhaps you are mentally preparing us for a compromise. You suggested very high numbers so that the nation will panic, and when the government later agrees to only small increases, we will say thank you and accept them easily. But still you taxed us wrongly and unfairly. And it’s actually the fixed-income people who will suffer at the end of the day.
By Badriya Darwish