Investment authority to develop key recreational facilities


KUWAIT: The finance ministry stressed that subsidies in the state budget increased by 12.4 percent to reach KD 3.433 billion. Responding to inquiries about the 2018-2019 budget, the ministry's account on Twitter said payrolls will cost KD 11.23 billion, which is 3.4 percent higher than that in the current budget. The ministry added that capital expenses increased by six percent to reach KD 3.62 billion, while other expenses dropped by 33.2 percent to total KD 1.71 billion.

The finance ministry also noted that the state has no intention to borrow KD 25 billion as suggested by several media reports, and explained that this sum is the maximum the government can borrow as stipulated in the public debt bill filed by the government to provide solutions to fund the deficit, while at the same time, maintaining public reserves without affecting citizens' living standards.

Responding to an inquiry about budget deficits despite the income, the finance ministry explained that deficits usually take place when expenditure exceeds public revenues in any given fiscal year and that reserves are not counted in budgets. The ministry also explained that returns made by the future generations fund are not counted in budgets either and that they are usually invested and kept in the same fund.

Budget deficit

Meanwhile, head of the parliament's budgets and final statement committee Adnan Abdulsamad said the panel discussed the state's 2018-2019 budget in its recent meeting. Abdulsamad stressed that governmental cooperation with the committee is still limited, since it had urged the finance ministry to be notified about new budgets to discuss them prior to having them approved by the Cabinet, which did not happen in this case. Abdulsamad added that the expected deficit in the new budget would be KD 6.5 billion assessed according to considering oil prices at $50 per barrel, which is way less than the actual current prices of $60-65. "This means that the deficit will be much lesser than estimates," he underlined.

Abdulsamad also noted that exceeding the maximum spending limits set in the budget poses constitutional violations. He added that the government filed two bills requesting KD 103 million in extra funds although the fiscal year 2017-2018 is near conclusion. He added that the committee contacted the finance ministry requesting withdrawing bills requesting KD 665 million in extra funds.

Recreational facilities

Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA) is currently studying developing Kuwait's recreational facilities including Sabahiya Park, said a government document, explaining that a feasibility study is now in progress to develop the park. Once the study is over, it will be offered to engineering offices to get the needed licenses to be issued in collaboration with an international designer. Notably, Sabahiya Park was closed by a court order on Sept 4, 2016, when a contract signed with the Touristic Enterprises Company (TEC) to run the park, Shaab Park and the Entertainment City expired.

South Sabahiya Park is located over a green area of 115,000 sq m in Ahmadi, and includes a variety of touristic and investment sites and games for various age categories. It was official opened in 2005. Reopening the park is a great opportunity for investors, as recommended by the Leaders Group Company for Consultancy and Development's monthly report.

Patient medevacked

A patient who was injured in an accident near Abdaly is currently receiving medical care at Jahra Hospital, and his condition is stable, the Ministry of Health's official spokesperson Dr Ahmed Al-Shatti said. An ambulance arrived at the crash scene within five minutes, where medics decided that the patient needed to be medevacked from Abdaly clinic to Jahra Hospital, he explained. But the first ambulance broke down, and another was dispatched from Abdaly clinic and arrived within 12 minutes.

Shatti explained that all ambulances are regularly maintained every 5,000 km, and that the first ambulance's battery had been replaced only seven months earlier. He added that Minister Dr Basel Al-Sabah provides special care for emergency and ambulances services, and 79 modern ambulances recently joined service, equipped with the latest first aid equipment. He said medics constantly undergo special training programs.

By A Saleh