With talks over the government’s preparation for imposing value added tax (VAT) on goods and services in the country, legislators are keen on setting policies affecting the labour force, which is heavily comprised of foreign nationals particularly in the private sector.
MP Calls for Taxing Expats in Kuwait
MP Safa Al-Hashem, in line with the discussion on taxation, commented that the government collects no charges from expats in the country, as shared in a report by the Kuwait Times.
As a response to the question raised by Finance Minister Nayef Al-Hajraf about value-added tax (VAT), Hashem expressed her dismay as to why the government should impose VAT on Kuwaitis, when she claimed that the government “collects nothing” from expats, whom, as she pointed out, outnumber Kuwaiti citizens by three-folds.
MP Hashem earlier has made an incredulous proposition which is to tax expats for the air they breathe and for walking in the streets of Kuwait.
However, based on applited regulations on expats, this sector which is only twice the number of nationals (not three times as claimed by Hashem) is charged an annual health insurance fees and an array of medical fees at public hospitals and clinics, and are even charged 250 percent more than Kuwaitis for electricity and water consumption.
Furthermore, expats are required to pay for/renew their work and residency permits, on top of several other fees.
Meanwhile, on his query to the former minister of social affairs and labour about maid recruitment offices, which he describes as “gangs and state within a state,” MP Mohammad Al-Dallal aired his suspicion that influential people back these offices because neither the ministry of commerce nor the social affairs ministry are capable of taking any action against them.
Dallal also pointed out that while the government has established a company for the recruitment of maids, it has failed because the recruitment offices are more powerful than the government.
These issues will further be discussed on the next Assembly session, as per the report.