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Economic experts divided on proposed price increase
July 28, 2015, 8:21 am

‘Low-income citizens, expats to bear brunt of any fuel hike’ 

Kuwaiti and expatriate economic experts expressed divergent opinions regarding the widespread information of the government’s intention to increase the prices of fuel.

Some insisted that the increase is a necessity for government to cover the budget deficit arising from the declining oil prices in the international market, but others disagreed under the plea that the low-income earners will bear the brunt. According to Salama Subhi, the increasing prices of gasoline will repel experts from Kuwait because their salaries are mostly fixed and change only in extremely rare cases.

He declared that increasing the prices of fuel will in turn increase the family expenditures by at least KD 15 per month, urging the government to forgo the idea of increasing fuel prices out of mercy for the low income earners. On the other hand, Abdul Munaim Al-Hariri said increasing the prices of fuel will reduce the number of vehicles on the roads of the country.

He indicated that shop owners will mainly feel repercussions of the increase with low rate of transactions, adding that expatriates will need to take taxes when they plan to go shopping, so they will end up buying from grocery stores and nearby cooperative stores. Al-Hariri declared that low income earners will suffer from this decision because most of them depend on their cars to drop their children to schools, and gas stations will experience low patronage.

Regarding this issue, an economist Amir Al-Mansour declared his support for removal of subsidy for many reasons. He cited that some Kuwaitis have more than one car while many expatriates who have never bought or used a car in their lives do so in Kuwait, adding that some of them buy cars that cost less than KD 200. He added that increasing the fuel prices will discourage people from buying many cars in order to avoid high expenses. 

Source: Arab Times

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