KUWAIT: The government’s expected decision to lift fuel subsidies after several studies in this regard is expected to have negative impacts on the private sector by increasing its production costs, and thus increase the prices of various goods and services.

Commenting on this controversial issue, official government sources stressed that energy and product subsidies would not be lifted from ‘deserving’ citizens with low and medium incomes. The sources added that a special mechanism was being currently prepared to determine which citizens deserve subsidies and which do not by using the smart civil ID that is to be used to get petrol at the current prices while non-deserving citizens and expats would pay the new prices that are expected to double by the beginning of the new year, jumping from 65 to 100 fils per liter. “This will save the state budget around KD 500 million,” stressed the sources.

Further, the sources explained that the new system would be applied in collaboration with PACI, K-Net and fuel companies, where deserving citizens’ civil IDs would be automatically programmed. Petrol will be the starting point towards using further applications in the process of linking civil IDs to various daily transactions as well as getting subsidized goods.

Moreover, the sources expected the new system to be launched by the national anniversaries in February following a special awareness campaign on how to use civil IDs for payment and how to check the balance after each transaction. The sources highlighted that the idea to use smart civil IDs was adopted for several reasons, including avoiding issuing special cards for gasoline as the current smart IDs are already ready to receive purchase data, saving fortunes that would need to be spent issuing new cards and the high security levels the new ID cards have. – Al-Anbaa