Kuwait To Pass 2012/13 Budget Via Decree Soon

The draft budget, outlined in March, anticipates a spending increase of about 13 per cent.



While Kuwait's fiscal position is strong, it has been struggling with persistent political upheaval. (Reuters)

Kuwait expects to approve its 2012/13 budget by emiri decree soon, finance minister Nayef al-Hajraf told state-news agency KUNA on Wednesday.

A political stand-off in the Gulf state meant the OPEC member’s parliament has yet to approve the budget for its 2012/13 fiscal year which started in April.

“We expect the issuance of a decree on that draft at the earliest opportunity,” Hajraf said after a meeting with Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah and other economic officials, KUNA reported.

The emir, who has the last say in state matters, can issue decrees when parliament is not in session.

The draft budget, first outlined in March, envisages a spending increase of about 13 per cent. The budget is expected to total around KD22 billion ($78 billion) expenditure, with KD14 billion in revenues, mostly from oil and implying a deficit. However, the projection was based on oil at $65 per barrel.

Kuwait booked a record budget surplus of KD13.2 billion in 2011/2012 thanks to strong oil income and lower spending.

While Kuwait’s fiscal position is strong, it has been struggling with persistent political upheaval which has held up investment plans.

Earlier this year, its Constitutional Court effectively dissolved a parliament elected in February and dominated by opposition MPs.

The old, more government-tilted assembly that it reinstated has been unable to convene due to a boycott, mainly by opposition MPs. Analysts say this means another dissolution was likely, with a new election this year or next.

On Tuesday, Kuwait’s top court rejected a government bid to alter voting boundaries, leaving it without a clear solution to break the parliamentary deadlock after the next elections.