Kuwait’s attempts to join its fellow Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states in slashing spending on fuel subsidies are running into fresh trouble. A reversal of the 1 September increase in gasoline prices would set back efforts to trim what is on track to be Kuwait’s largest ever budget deficit in the 2016-17 financial year. Based on a conservative $35/B oil price the country is set to chalk up a KD9.7bn ($32bn) deficit: even using a more realistic $41/B gives $22.7bn, also a record.

Many MPs had called for the gasoline price hike to be canceled and they grew more vocal following its implementation. On 18 September, MP Faisal al-Kandari announced that unless the subsidy cut is reversed, he will file a request to question (“grill”) Finance Minister and acting Oil Minister Anas al-Salih on the opening day of the National Assembly’s next term in late October. (CONTINUED - 1079 WORDS)