The Minister of Commerce and Industry and the Minister of State for Youth Affairs, Muhammad Al-Aiban, has revealed an extensive roadmap to address inflation and the increasing prices of essential food commodities, particularly staples, reported Al-Rai Daily.

This comprehensive strategy involves multiple government entities, the Council of Ministers, and cooperative societies in a joint effort to combat these pressing economic challenges.

Minister Al-Aiban’s vision for mitigating local inflation amidst the ongoing global surge in prices, primarily due to external factors, comprises ten urgent recommendations. These proposals not only focus on immediate actions but also encompass strategies that can be executed in the short to medium term, contributing to sustainable price stability in the domestic market while mitigating the risks posed by high global inflation rates.

The urgent recommendations presented by Minister Al-Aiban include the following key measures:

  1. Exempting basic goods in cooperative societies from profit margins for a minimum of two years.
  2. Reducing the payment period for suppliers’ dues to cooperative societies to a maximum of 15 days.
  3. Substituting free items with reductions in commodity prices.
  4. Activating the Competition Protection Authority’s role in cooperative societies for a minimum of two years to prevent monopolistic practices and offset anticipated food price hikes.
  5. Stabilizing electricity, water, and state property prices for cooperative societies for at least two years to counter expected food price increases.
  6. Reviewing administrative costs, especially salaries within cooperative societies.
  7. Halting the recruitment of administrative positions in cooperative societies and restricting them to national workers in coordination with the Civil Service Commission.
  8. Reevaluating appointment procedures in cooperative societies to align with Civil Service Commission requirements.
  9. Revoking Ministry of Trade and Industry Resolution No. (67) of 2020 concerning price fixing.
  10. Dissolving the Price Fixation Committee within the “Commerce” Ministry, formed in 2015, to be reconstituted under the Federation of Cooperative Societies.

Minister Al-Aiban’s multifaceted approach extends beyond urgent recommendations and involves other stakeholders:

  1. The General Authority for Agriculture and Livestock should provide additional public warehouses to maintain food security. Responsibility lies with the Council of Ministers and the Agriculture Authority.
  2. Expanding border crossings for meat imports, such as opening the Abdali crossing for Turkish meat imports. This proposal falls under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Interior and the Agriculture Authority.

Minister Al-Aiban has further recommended four actions to the General Authority of Customs:

  1. Suspending customs duties and service fees on basic food commodities for two years.
  2. Temporarily suspending fees imposed by the Kuwait Ports Authority on services provided for imported food commodity shipments for two years.
  3. Expanding the opening of border crossings to import meat.
  4. Postponing the application of value-added tax.

The plan also includes seven additional recommendations involving multiple stakeholders:

  1. Suspending any state fee increases on food imports for at least two years, the responsibility of the Council of Ministers.
  2. Revisiting the Cooperatives Law to enhance oversight of board of directors’ practices in cooperative societies and strengthen governance, overseen by the Ministry of Labor Affairs and the Federation of Associations.
  3. Advancing customs facilities, a task assigned to the General Authority of Customs.
  4. Delaying decisions related to local dumping tariffs, a responsibility of the General Authority of Customs.
  5. Adopting models for the privatization of cooperative societies to reduce administrative costs and bolster the role of the private sector in the economy, under the jurisdiction of the General Investment.

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