Kuwait cabinet approves 2012-13 budget

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A view of the National Assembly, formally known as the Majlis Al Umma (House of the Nation), in Kuwait City, Kuwait. Photo – Bryan Denton

Kuwait’s cabinet gave its nod to a slightly revised budget for the current fiscal year with projected expenditure of 21.24 billion dinars ($75.6 billion), state news agency KUNA reported late on Tuesday.

KUNA citing Finance Minister Nayef al-Hajraf said the draft law still needs approval of the country’s ruler. The budget sees revenues at 13.93 billion dinars ($49.63bn).

Political turmoil has kept the Gulf Arab state’s parliament at bay announced from approving a draft budget in March for the current fiscal year which ends next 31 March.

Instead, Hajraf said last month that he expected the budget to be approved by the emir’s decree.

The figures announced on Tuesday expect a spending increase of about 9.5% from last fiscal year’s budgeted spending and 25% from last year’s actual spending.

The original budget projection was based on an oil price of $65 a barrel, leading to a budget deficit. However, Kuwait is likely to post a surplus as global oil prices are currently trading well above $100.

The draft takes into account a plan announced last month to more than double the portion of state revenues which the country puts into a rainy day fund, KUNA said. Kuwait plans to put 25% of revenues into the future generations fund, compared to 10% at present.

The OPEC member state booked a record budget surplus of 13.2 billion dinars in 2011/2012, thanks to strong oil income and lower spending.

While Kuwait’s fiscal position is strong, it has been struggling with persistent political upheaval which has held up investment plans. Analysts also say it needs to diversify its oil-reliant economy.

Kuwait’s ruler ordered the dissolution of parliament on Sunday, opening the way to a parliamentary election after months of political deadlock. It was the sixth dissolution of parliament since early 2006.

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