KUWAIT: Responding to lawmakers’ threats to grill the finance minister if value added tax (VAT) is imposed in Kuwait, Finance Ministry’s Undersecretary Khalifa Hamada said the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) pact which approved VAT is being reviewed by the parliament and that it is up to MPs whether to approve or reject it. Notably, Hamada had previously estimated non-oil annual revenue expected after imposing VAT to be KD 600 million, and said that it would take a year to impose the tax. He had also noted that VAT would boost non-oil revenue but remarked that it would not entirely resolve the budget deficit.

Environmental violations
Minister of Public Works Abdul Rahman Al-Mutawwa said 1,272 environmental violations had been referred to prosecution since the environment law was put into effect and untill Sept 5, 2017. Speaking in response to an enquiry filed by MP Safa Al-Hashem, Mutawwa said violations included 48 related to construction waste, which violates article 33 of the law.
Mutawwa explained that article 33 states that those who dump construction waste out of the specified dumpsters will be penalized KD 50 to KD 500. He also noted that inspectors with judicial powers are entitled to enter public or private places, except those used for private residence, without the owners’ prior permission at any time to investigate any environmental violations and take samples to be examined.
Mutawwa added that inspectors with judicial powers will then file citations with detailed information about the measures followed, the violation, the time and place as well as the inspector’s name and position. He also noted that inspectors could be tipped off concerning environmental violations by people and even unidentified sources.

Overhead lines
The Public Authority for Housing Welfare’s Director Bader Al-Waqian signed a contract with a local company to reposition two overhead high-voltage power lines at the South Abdullah Al-Mubarak city site. According to the contract, the company will move the lines to new routes outside the project land that is planned to include 3,260 housing units plus other public facility buildings.

Labor allowance
The Manpower and Government Restructuring Program (MGRP) announced that a total of KD 39 million was paid in October as monthly national labor support allowance to 75,600 citizens working in the private sector. MGRP also announced that KD 600,000 was also paid to 2,500 Kuwaiti students.

Solar power
Well-informed sources denied reports suggesting that the Ministry of Electricity and Water (MEW) plans to use solar power for water desalination, explaining that the project is economically unfeasible because of its high cost compared to conventional energy.

By A Saleh