Tax in Kuwait "only possible" with proper laws

Monday, February 11, 2019

In the event a tax law is introduced to Kuwait, it would be "no different" than other legislation requiring it to pass through parliament as stipulated by the constitution, the country's finance minister said on Sunday.

"A prospective tax law in Kuwait has been a recurring topic of discussion among our partners in the region," Nayef Al-Hajraf told KUNA in an interview on the sidelines of an Arab financial forum.

He said constitutional law in Kuwait should be respected, meaning that taxes would only be levied under legislation that "follows proper procedure." The minister went on to say that any discussion over taxes in Kuwait is merely conjecture at this point, emphasizing that proper laws need to be enacted in the first place.

On the types of taxes currently under discussion, he mentioned a Value Added Tax (VAT) agreement between Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states, which has become the subject of heated debate in Kuwait's parliament.

In response to a question over an increase in wages and more monetary bonuses, the minister said the situation is assessed on an "individual basis", citing efforts to remedy any irregularities in the payment of salaries, "which could take a while to materialize." The spate of financial reforms seen in Kuwait aim to ensure steady economic development, Al-Hajraf explained, pinpointing more job opportunities and anti-corruption efforts as among the measures taken.

He also touched on Kuwait's newly-unveiled budget for the fiscal year 2019-2020, which has government spending slashed by 26 percent as part of a tighter expenditure policy.

The Kuwaiti finance minister highlighted the talks as a valuable opportunity for Kuwait to gain some insight into the experiences of some of its neighbors in dealing with financial reforms.

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