KUWAIT: The Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MoCI) strongly urged relevant monitoring bodies to take proper measures to stop the smuggling of subsidized foodstuff abroad, especially after large quantities were spotted on sale in various countries. The ministry also referred to the Cabinet a decision on fighting hikes in foodstuff and consumer goods' prices, which in article 16, states that MoCI, the Interior Ministry, the customs department, the Kuwait Ports Authority and agricultural affairs authority are all responsible for meticulous implementation of decisions banning the export of ruminants, poultry, fish and all other subsidized goods in addition to authorizing the Interior Ministry to conduct investigations to foil such illegal acts.

In this regard, informed sources explained that MoCI asked the customs department to have strict control on various border exists to prevent smuggling such items and protect public funds. The sources added that large quantities of goods carrying the Kuwait Supply Company seal and logo are being sold on street markets in other countries.

The sources quoted a MoCI statement that around 1.7 million people are registered with the subsidized supplies system and that the total sum of subsidies they annually receive amounts to KD 150.5 million. The ministry also explained that citizens, GCC nationals, stateless people and domestic helpers are included in the supplies system; ie 1.1 million citizens (with a cost of KD 98.4 million), 90,300 GCC nationals (with a cost of KD 7.7 million) and 97,900 stateless people (with a cost of KD 8.2 million), in addition to 413,400 domestic helpers with a total annual cost of KD 34 million.

By A Saleh