KUWAIT: His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah chairs the Cabinet's meeting. - KUNA

KUWAIT: Kuwait's Cabinet has instructed all state bodies to limit spending to at least 10 percent as part of plans to address the country's budget deficit, ministers agreed on Monday. The measures also call to limit spending on local and internationally-held functions and exhibitions, travel expenses pertaining to overseas training, foreign missions and medical treatment for nationals alongside a steps to ensure due debts to the state are collected.

The move also includes the revision of incentives granted to leading officials employed at state bodies and rent prices for state-owned real estate and land, Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Sheikh Hamad Jaber Al-Ali Al-Sabah said after ministers held their weekly Cabinet meeting, held at Seif Palace under the chairmanship of His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah.

Additionally, the Public Authority for Manpower was instructed to assess whether to halt providing financial incentives to privately-employed nationals, whose wages exceed KD 3,000 a month. Furthermore, the ministers discussed a Central Bank of Kuwait (CBK) report and a briefing by the General Secretariat of the Supreme Council for Planning and Development, which both highlighted steps to ensure improving the country's sovereign credit rating over the next four years.

Both the minister of finance and state minister for economic affairs were instructed to form a sovereign credit rating governance committee, tasked with strengthening communication and the standardization of data with all rating agencies and state bodies in order to achieve this goal. The committee, led by the Ministry of Finance, will include the membership of CBK, the Kuwait Investment Authority and the General Secretariat of the Supreme Council for Planning and Development.

COVID-19 update

Separately, the Cabinet were briefed, by Minister of Health Sheikh Dr Basel Hmoud Al-Sabah, on the country's health situation amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The minister noted a continuing decline in coronavirus-related deaths, infections and hospitalizations, adding that the recovery rate has increased to 97.7 percent. He highlighted ministry efforts to speed up vaccination against the virus to reach social immunity. On this, the Cabinet said it appreciates the cooperation of nationals and expatriates in implementing health requirements, urging the public's continued adherence to COVID-19 measures.

In the meantime, the Cabinet reiterated its denouncement of the continued Houthi drone assaults on Saudi Arabia that aim to threaten the kingdom's security. The Cabinet said that the continuation of these hostile practices that target Saudi Arabia's stability and security constitutes a flagrant violation of the principles of international humanitarian law that requires a decisive and rapid move from the international community to deter these threats, Foreign Minister and Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs Sheikh Dr Ahmad Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Sabah said after the meeting. It called for holding accountable all perpetrators, stressing Kuwait's full solidarity with the Kingdom in all measures it takes to preserve its stability and security, he added.

Meanwhile, the ministers voiced Kuwait's sympathy with Lebanon's people over the fuel tank blast took place a few days ago, north of the country, that left dozens dead or wounded. They showed Kuwaiti's full solidarity with the brotherly Lebanese people in this painful incident, offering sincere condolences to the families of the victims, wishing those injured a rapid recovery. In addition, the Cabinet expressed Kuwait's support to the Republic of Haiti over the quake that led to gross material losses and deaths. It offered heartfelt condolences to Haiti's government, people and the families of the victims, wishing the wounded a speedy recovery. - KUNA