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Kuwait plans to raise diesel, kerosene prices

Kuwait mulls over raising the prices of both fuels at wholesalers and fuel stations to 0.170 dinar (59 U.S. cents) per liter from 0.055 dinar.

Kuwait government and the Supreme Planning Council approved, during a high-level joint meeting, recommendations to hike the prices of diesel and kerosene to 170 fils (59 cents) a litre from 55 fils (19 cents). The meeting also ended subsidies on aviation fuel for foreign carriers that make fewer than 5,000 flights a year into Kuwait, Al Kuwaitiya Newspaper reported on Thursday, October 16.

Planning Minister Hind al-Sabeeh said that after a joint meeting of the cabinet and higher planning council, the cabinet “accepted” a report by a committee at the Ministry of Electricity and Water on hiking prices of diesel and kerosene more than threefold, ending decades of heavy subsidies, which are costing the government more than KD 5 billion annually.

Sabeeh, who was cited by the official KUNA news agency, said the report discusses raising the prices of both fuels at wholesalers and fuel stations to 0.170 dinar (59 U.S. cents) per litre from 0.055 dinar.

The cabinet decided in May to end subsidies on diesel in principle and ordered a committee to study the impact of the move on consumers before its implementation.

Sabeeh said that at the latest meeting charges were also reviewed for heavily-subsidised electricity and water, but that further studies had been ordered into the issue before any decision is made, especially on consumer categories and how to increase the price. The issue of raising petrol and cooking gas prices was not raised during the meeting. Earlier this week, Oil Minister Ali Al-Omair said the issue of raising prices of petrol and cooking gas is suspended indefinitely. A few months ago, the Cabinet decided in principle to lift subsidies on diesel and asked a committee to study its impact on consumers.

In a related development, Electricity and Water Minister Abdulaziz Al-Ibrahim yesterday brushed aside threats by MP Abdulhameed Dashti to grill him over collecting unpaid electricity and water bills. Ibrahim said the lawmaker is threatening to grill him because he is applying the law and that he will not stop unless the National Assembly issues a new law banning him from collecting public funds from debtors. The minister said that the ministry is allowing consumers to pay half of the amount and pay the rest in installments over 18 months for those who cannot pay. But he stressed there are consumers who own buildings worth over a million dinars and at the same time do not want to pay electricity bills of several thousand dinars.

Dashti said yesterday that he will grill the minister because he using uncivilized methods to force people to pay their electricity bills after failing to inform consumers for years, thus allowing bills to accumulate. The lawmaker said that the minister should facilitate the payment in installments so as not to overburden citizens.