Kuwait has no plans to increase petrol prices

KUWAIT: Government sources said the Cabinet’s subsidies committee does not have on its agenda any recommendation to raise prices of petrol. It added it also has no plans to consider recommendations by international ratings agencies to raise gasoline prices as part of financial reforms to remedy Kuwait’s budget.

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Sources said the subsidies committee is supervised by finance ministry and submits recommendations to increase or decrease subsidies in order to maintain prices and prevent hurting consumers and Kuwaitis’ housing needs to build up their allocated plots.

Sources said KNPC has affirmed it is able to supply enough fuel to the market at current prices with no affect on its work and the available budget, so there is no need to increase fuel prices, at least in the near future.

But among Gulf states, petrol prices remain the cheapest in Kuwait. Mere years ago, fuel was cheaper than bottled water in the oil-rich United Arab Emirates. Now, long lines snake outside gas stations on the eve of price hikes each month.

Fuel prices in the major OPEC producer, set in line with global oil price benchmarks, have soared over 70 percent since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, accentuating differences with neighboring petrostates that heavily subsidize gasoline.

At about $1.23 a liter after July’s price rise, the unprecedented fuel cost in the UAE remains below the grim records reached in the United States and Britain as the war in Ukraine unleashes the biggest commodity shock in decades.

But the region’s citizens have long considered cheap fuel a birthright. In Kuwait’s lavish welfare state, the cost per liter is nearly four times less.

Inflation has cut into laborers’ already meager salaries. Other Gulf Arab countries have also curbed state benefits to balance their budgets in recent years. But fearing backlash from angry consumers, none have gone as far as the UAE, where fuel prices are nearly double the average among Gulf Arab states.

Uber drivers and food delivery riders who pay for their own fuel in Dubai say they’re barely breaking even. Riders for two main delivery companies went on strike over their slim salaries in May – defying the UAE’s ban on labor protests. Uber said it would raise fares as much as 11 percent for some trips to account for new gas fees in Dubai, but some drivers say that’s inadequate. – Agencies

Kuwait Times