Kuwait denies imposing taxes on expatriates

March 16, 2013

Kuwait’s finance minister has denied media reports that the government was considering imposing taxes on expatriates.

Mustafa Al Shamali also denied claims that Kuwait would increase service fees or that it would levy charges on foreigners for outward remittances, saying that such steps have not been considered at all, local Arabic daily Al Rai reported on Thursday.

“Everything related to taxes has to go through the finance ministry,” Al Shamali said. “We have nothing at all on this issue.”

Reports surfaced this week claiming that the ministry was planning to introduce the new charges soon as a bid to restructure the economy.

“Not everything that is published in the media is true,” the minister said.

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries do not impose taxes on nationals or foreigners although analysts have been lately pushing for levying charges to help restructure the economy.

The imposition of taxes would be resisted by Gulf nationals, often used to exceptional state care from the cradle to the grave.

The GCC countries already face huge problems collecting water and electricity fees from their citizens, prompting the decision in Kuwait for instance to impose a foreign travel ban on defaulters to force them to pay arrears.

Foreigners make up more than two thirds of the labour force in the GCC, a region that has become over-reliant on migrant labour while suffering from high rates of citizen unemployment and a limited presence of its nationals in the private sector.




About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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