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MPs demand return to old energy prices, 20% hike in salaries

By B Izzak

KUWAIT: Five MPs called on Monday for abolishing the increases made to electricity and fuel prices in 2016 so that electricity charges would return to just 2 fils per kilowatt. Charges of electricity were raised in 2016 from 2 fils a kilowatt to 50 fils per kilowatt, applying mostly to expatriates and Kuwaiti citizens in a few cases. The proposal also called for cancelling the increase in fuel prices introduced in 2016, so petrol prices would return to under 100 fils per liter.

Meanwhile, five other lawmakers called for setting the minimum wage for Kuwaiti employees once every three years, taking into account the inflation rate. The minimum wage must be raised by 20 percent every three years, according to the proposal. Pensioners will also get a 20 percent raise every three years. The proposal also applies to Kuwaitis employed in the private sector.

The two recent proposals come as part of a string of populist proposals by lawmakers who were elected to the National Assembly on June 6. On Sunday, MPs proposed raising salaries of Kuwaiti employees in the government and private sector, in addition to retired citizens, by as much as KD 400. Lawmakers also demanded that 20 percent of returns on Kuwait’s foreign assets should be distributed annually to Kuwaitis above 21 years old.

The cost of the proposed hikes will be several billion dinars every year. Also, MP Saud Al-Asfour, head of the disabled affairs committee, said on Monday the committee amended the law on people with disabilities to include Kuwaiti women who take care of their non-Kuwaiti children, non-Kuwaiti husbands and any non-Kuwaiti relative.

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