Kuwait’s actions against expats could backfire

Kuwait’ parliament has a history of sending the wrong signals against expatriates, but this latest one just doesn’t make sense.

Remittance tax

Arab Times reported Deputy Chairman of Kuwait Exchange Companies Union (KECU) Talal Bahman questioned the intentions shared by the Ministry of Finance, Central Bank of Kuwait and the relevant parliamentary committees to impose tax on the remittances of expatriates.

“The attitude of some MPs seeking electoral gains will devastate an important economic sector including 40 companies,” the daily reported Bahman as saying.

It said Bahman argued the expected revenues of about KD60 million ($200 million) are insignificant, indicating this amount is not enough to address the budget deficit.

Bahman warned that imposing tax on remittances of expatriates will “negatively affect the citizens’ pockets.”

He said that expatiates will look for alternative ways to transfer their money through black market activities.

Expats under fire

Kuwait’s finance ministry has instructed ministries and government entities to prepare lists of foreign employees to be cut from April 2018 to March 2019 to limit public sector roles to Kuwaitis, quoting Arabic language newspaper Al-Anbaa.

The aim is to reach a 100% Kuwaiti workforce by 2022.

Kuwait has been debating in parliament calls to reduce the number of foreign workers estimated to make up 70% of the 4.4 million population.

Parliament proposed a $3,300 fee for expat driving licenses

As if not enough, an MP requested an annual renewal fee of $1,657 for each car owned by expats.

 

By Hadi Khatib

Hadi Khatib is a business editor with more than 15 years’ experience delivering news and copy of relevance to a wide range of audiences. If newsworthy and actionable, you will find this editor interested in hearing about your sector developments and writing about it.

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