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| 19 July, 2018

$1.8bln bad debts for laid off expats in Kuwait

Expats in the public sector dropped to 80,000, compared to around 340,000 Kuwaiti employees as of the end of June

Passengers walk under the flight schedule board showing several cancelled flights, in Kuwait International Airport October 24, 2011.

Passengers walk under the flight schedule board showing several cancelled flights, in Kuwait International Airport October 24, 2011.

REUTERS/Stephanie McGehee

KUWAIT: Kuwait’s efforts to create more jobs for nationals by releasing foreigners working in the public sector has created a problem when thousands of laid off expatriates became unable to fulfill their financial obligations towards local banks.

Recent Central Bank of Kuwait data shows the total bad debts for expatriates during the past four year reached $1.8 billion, a sizable portion of which comprise the debts of foreigners who were laid off by the government, according to sources. Eighty five percent of those debts are owed to local banks, while the remaining 15 percent are owed to financial facilities companies.

The number of expatriate employees in state departments dropped by 70 percent in the past six months, according to official statistics released by the Central Statistical Bureau and Civil Service Commission, thanks in principle to the government’s ‘replacement policy’ that targets the complete ‘Kuwaitization’ of the public sector’s manpower by 2022.

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The number of expats in the public sector dropped to 80,000, compared to around 340,000 Kuwaiti employees as of the end of June.

Screen allowance

The Information Ministry decided to pay a KD 30 monthly allowance for each of its employees who have to sit at their desks and face a computer throughout the duration of their working hours.

The decision also includes paying a special KD 15 ‘screen allowance’ to employees who do not have direct contact with the public as well.

The stipulations to obtain the allowance include that the employee must be a Kuwaiti, and that he or she sends an e-mail from his or her ministry-operated user account and signed by his direct supervisor and department director, requesting the allowance’s payment.

Grants’ budget

A government financial report revealed that grants in the state’s general budget for the fiscal year 2018/2019 reached KD 5,247,390 billion, at an increase of 12 percent compared to the previous estimation.

The grants chapter makes up 24 percent of the total expenses; the second largest after the first chapter, dedicated to the public sector’s payroll. The total capital and current grants for foreign governments for the fiscal year 2018-2019 reached KD 217 million.

Meanwhile, total grants for international organizations reached KD one million. The total grants for government units reached KD 4.995 billion, while grants to other foreign entities were KD 34 million.

Model gardens park

Director General of Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research (KISR) Dr Sameera Al-Sayyed Omar asked Kuwait Municipality’s General Manager about what has been done in regards to allocating a site to construct the model gardens park at the sea front.

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