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Kuwait public spending up 8%

According to preliminary figures released by the Kuwaiti finance ministry, government spending rose 8% year-on-year in the first 10 months of this fiscal year, but is still far below its initial plan, Reuters has reported. Public expenditure reached KD10.58bn ($37.6bn) in the April-January period, up from KD9.78bn a year ago, but little over half of its spending plan of KD21bn for the fiscal year ending in March. Last October, the prime minister described the country’s welfare system as unsustainable. Kuwait, which relies on oil for around 94% of its income, provides a generous cradle-to-grave welfare system for its citizens. The International Monetary Fund warned in December that it will be important for Kuwait to restrain the rising public sector wage bill and subsidies because any sustained period of low oil prices could reduce its budget surpluses.