Coinciding with the announcement of the first budget deficit in 16 years, the Ministry of Interior has completed a new legislative proposal to increase fees for the issuance and renewal of driving licenses to expatriates and companies from KD 5 to KD 250-KD 300, reports Al-Qabas daily quoting sources close to the ministry. Sources confirmed Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Mohammad Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah has approved the proposal.
However, sources pointed out the new bill has sparked ire of several government bodies concerned with the issue, such as the Ministry of Commerce and Industry which finds the bill retrogressive due to negative repercussions overshadowing the desired objective.
This ministry has warned that, the bill, if passed, might quickly be withdrawn due to its negative implications, sources added. The ministry enumerated some negative implications including the decrease of work in companies and establishments which use vehicles in most of their business activities like food companies, restaurants, distributors and agents.
Another negative implication is the increase in the prices of several basic services offered by companies and establishments, which will definitely compensate for expenditures as a result of the implementation of the new law. The ministry stressed that implementation of the proposal will hamper activities related to the buy and sell of used cars, owing to the drop of business movement in this sector; let alone the closure of markets such as the ‘haraj’ market’ which specializes in selling used cars.
The ministry argued that even if the bill is aimed at increasing government revenue which does not come from taxes, its negative implications on the local market are far detrimental than the desired objectives.
Meanwhile, Article One of the bill stipulates fees to be imposed on foreigners, Bedouns, companies and establishments as follows:
1. Fee for vehicle documents or transfer of ownership will be KD 250 for the first vehicle which increases by KD 50 for any additional vehicle, while the annual renewal fee will be KD 100 if the model of the vehicle is less than 10 years.
2. If the vehicle’s model is above 10 years, the fee for renewal or ownership transfer is KD 300 for the first vehicle, KD 50 for any additional vehicle and KD 150 for annual renewal.
3. For the issuance of driving license: KD 500 for new license and KD 50 for annual renewal. This exempts domestic drivers under Article 20 visa as they are treated similar to citizens.
Currently, acquiring vehicle documents, vehicle transfer of ownership and renewal of vehicle documents cost KD 5 each, KD 2 for new driving license and a fee of KD 1 for annual renewal.
Nonetheless, the bill must go through various legal channels including concerned bodies in the government in which the process is as per the constitutional requirement.