Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 18 February 2020

Kuwait court orders government to scrap petrol price rise

The price rise, ranging from about 40 to 80 per cent depending on the type of petrol, met stiff opposition from MPs and activists when it was introduced on September 1 following a slide in oil revenues.
A man refills his car with petrol in Kuwait City, back in 2003. Eric Feferberg/AFP Photo
A man refills his car with petrol in Kuwait City, back in 2003. Eric Feferberg/AFP Photo

KUWAIT CITY // A Kuwaiti court ordered the government to abolish an increase in petrol prices on Wednesday, nearly one month after it took effect.

The price rise, ranging from about 40 to 80 per cent depending on the type of petrol, met stiff opposition from MPs and activists when it was introduced on September 1 following a slide in oil revenues.

The administrative court did not immediately give the reasons for its ruling which was based on a petition filed by lawyer Nawaf Al Fuzai.

Mr Al Fuzai argued that the price decision “should have come through a bill from parliament and not from the cabinet”.

“I believe the judge has accepted our argument,” he said after the verdict was announced.

It can still be challenged by the government at the appeals and supreme courts.

The ruling came after MPs requested an emergency session of parliament on Thursday to debate the price increase.

In their motion, parliamentarians said the move had resulted in a rise in the prices of commodities and goods.

MPs want the government to compensate Kuwaiti citizens who comprise around 30 per cent of the 4.3 million population.

The cabinet said the decision was part of a series of measures to meet a budget deficit due to a sharp drop in oil revenues. Previously, these revenues had made up around 95 per cent of the country’s total income.

Kuwait liberalised the prices of diesel and kerosene in January 2015 and revises them monthly.

Other Gulf states, including the UAE, had already raised fuel and electricity prices.

In April, Kuwait’s parliament approved a government-sponsored bill to raise electricity and water prices paid by foreign residents and businesses, but exempted Kuwaiti citizens.

The Opec member recorded a budget shortfall of 4.6 billion dinars (Dh56.1bn) in the fiscal year ending on March 31.

It was the first shortfall since the fiscal year ending on March 1999.

* Agence France-Presse

Updated: September 28, 2016 04:00 AM

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