Kuwait to pay $600m in bonuses despite 64% budget deficit – report

Reports suggest the number could double if oil sector bonuses are included



Kuwait will reportedly pay public sector staff nearly KD 185m ($616m) in performance-related bonuses by the end of the current fiscal year, despite a projected KD 11.5bn ($38.3bn) budget deficit.

A source told daily Kuwait Times that the number could double if bonuses received by oil sector employees are added.

“Almost 99 percent of public sector employees annually get ‘excellent,’ ‘very good’ and ‘good’ performance assessments without being subjected to real assessment measures,” the source said.

The news comes as the government looks to tackle a 64 per cent budget deficit brought on by a 70 per cent dip in oil prices over the last 18 months. An estimated 95 per cent of Kuwait’s public revenues are reliant on hydrocarbons.

The publication reported that Kuwait’s National Assembly and Supreme Planning Council held a rare meeting yesterday to review government plans to reform the economy.

Measures being discussed include the raising of electricity prices from 2 fils per kilowatt to 5 fils/KW for the first 3,000 KW and 10 fils for between 3,000 and 6,000 KW, according to reports.

The government also reportedly wants to raise petrol prices to 85 fils a litre for 90 octane fuel and 105 fils a litre for 95 octane fuel, while local MPs are said to be willing to relinquish benefits including cars to cut spending.

Kuwait is the only GCC country yet to raise fuel prices, following the reduction of subsidies in Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

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