Kuwait to implement largest government restructuring in its history as of 2022

Kuwait to implement largest government restructuring in its history as of 2022
Building of the National Assembly of Kuwait (Shutterstock)
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Updated 20 September 2021

Kuwait to implement largest government restructuring in its history as of 2022

Kuwait to implement largest government restructuring in its history as of 2022

Kuwait plans to merge ministries, abolish others and create new strategies as part of the largest restructuring roadmap in its history over the next four years, Al Qabs reported.

Beginning in 2022, the ministries of electricity, water and oil will come together under one umbrella called the 'Ministry of Energy', while a 'Ministry of Economy and Trade' will also be created.

This department will be responsible for managing economic development, take responsibility for the national strategy for privatization, and manage the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Authority.

The plan also includes transferring the affiliation of Kuwait Direct Investment Promotion Authority (KDIPA) to the Ministry of Economy and Trade at the beginning of 2023, and developing strategies for a free economic zone and export promotion.

Kuwait's roadmap consists of reviewing investment laws, foreign ownership, bankruptcy and public-private partnership, evaluation, reform, simplification and digitization of the commercial registration process, and facilitation of procedures for obtaining credit.

The roadmap also includes expanding the competencies of the Competition Protection Office, including more experts in it, and expanding the scope of the National Fund for the Development of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to include innovation.

Kuwait plans to shift the executive management of the country from operator to regulator, through a government center to be established in early 2022.

The plan also includes dissolving the Ministry of Services and creating a new Ministry of Communications and Information Technology in order to develop the ICT strategy, as well as building a smart national strategy 'Towards a Smart Kuwait' in line with Vision 2023.

The Ministry of Information will be dismantled as of the last quarter of 2024, and the Media Authority will be established to implement media regulations in early 2023, the country decided.

Kuwait plans to establish six new local municipalities covering all its governorates, abolish of the Ministry of State for Housing Affairs and transfer its powers and responsibilities to the Ministry of Social Affairs.

It will also establish a new independent authority under the name 'The Public Authority for Social and Housing Support; at the beginning of the first half of 2022.

 


Economic rebound in GCC induces stable outlook for banks: Moody’s

Economic rebound in GCC induces stable outlook for banks: Moody’s
Updated 11 sec ago

Economic rebound in GCC induces stable outlook for banks: Moody’s

Economic rebound in GCC induces stable outlook for banks: Moody’s

An economic recovery and stronger oil prices prompted Moody’s to set a stable outlook for banks in the Gulf Cooperation Council region for the upcoming 12 to 18 months, the ratings agency said in a report.

“Economic growth in 2022 will reflect a gradual increase in hydrocarbon production and a strong recovery in other segments of the economy,” said Ashraf Madani, a vice president and senior analyst at Moody’s.

He added that quality of assets is set to stay healthy despite a marginal rise in non-performing loans.

As for next year, the firm indicated that regulatory measures and large projects, including stadiums for the World Cup and Saudi Arabia’s giga projects, will boost credit growth in the region and raise credit demand.

The US-based company added that liquid assets account for about 25-30 percent of total GCC banking assets and are predicted to stay this way to safeguard against any unforeseen crises.

Loan performance will likely deteriorate when payment holidays end, Moody’s pointed out. The UAE and Bahrain are two countries that will be most affected.

GCC governments still maintain a strong disposition to protect the banking sector due to their large sovereign wealth funds, the report added.

 

 


China’s exports and imports reach all-time highs

China’s exports and imports reach all-time highs
Image: Shutterstock
Updated 6 min 21 sec ago

China’s exports and imports reach all-time highs

China’s exports and imports reach all-time highs
  • The country’s trade surplus hit $71.7 billion in November

Exports and imports in China grew annually by 22 and 32 percent in November when compared to a year earlier, reaching all-time records.

Exports went up to $326 billion while imports rose to $254 billion, Bloomberg reported, citing China's customs administration.

However, exports growth experienced a slowdown during the month, falling from October’s 27.1 percent to 22 percent. This was attributed to a thinning demand and a rise in costs.

In contrast, imports growth picked up pace significantly, rising to 32 percent as the East Asian country replenished its inventories of some commodities such as coal. This is compared to the lower 20 percent growth experienced in the previous month.

Coal imports in the country climbed to the highest level since the start of the year to supply its power system.

The country’s trade surplus hit $71.7 billion in November, down from October’s level of $84.5 billion.

While the country continues to notably recover from the pandemic, it still suffers from a number of problems, including power shortfalls and debt issues in the property sector.


Inflation in eurozone economies is transitory: IMF

Inflation in eurozone economies is transitory: IMF
Image: Shutterstock
Updated 07 December 2021

Inflation in eurozone economies is transitory: IMF

Inflation in eurozone economies is transitory: IMF
  • The reason the IMF gave this assessment is that the hikes in consumer prices didn’t turn into wage increases

Despite inflation hitting a record high last month in the euro area, the International Monetary Fund said that the rise in prices is transitory and not worrisome.

Annual inflation rate in the zone reached 4.9 percent in November, Reuters reported.

The reason the IMF gave this assessment is that the hikes in consumer prices didn’t turn into wage increases, also known as the second-round effect.

It pointed out that, meanwhile, monetary policy should remain loose.

The international lender also stated that governments in the euro area should continue backing their economies to overcome the adverse effects initiated by the pandemic. The organization added that fiscal consolidation is not urgent, but its plans should be readily available now.

“Policies should remain accommodative but become increasingly targeted, with a focus on mitigating potential rises in inequality and poverty,”the IMF said.

I took a quote from the source since it's reuters.


Bahrain aims to reduce government shares in listed companies

Bahrain aims to reduce government shares in listed companies
Updated 07 December 2021

Bahrain aims to reduce government shares in listed companies

Bahrain aims to reduce government shares in listed companies

JEDDAH: Bahrain aims to reduce government ownership in listed companies, the CEO of the Bahrain Bourse has said.

The country aims to list more governmental companies to encourage the private sector to follow the lead. 

At least two governmental firms are currently close to listing, including the Bahrain Airport Company,  Khalifa Al Khalifa added in an interview with Al Arabiya.

Bahrain Bourse has also reached an agreement with Abu Dhabi to facilitate direct trading between the two markets.

It is also implementing a four year strategy ending in 2026, to develop the financial market sector by listing more companies, including small and medium-size enterprises, Al Arabiya reported.


Oil prices exceed $70 pushing aside omicron concerns

Oil prices exceed $70 pushing aside omicron concerns
Image: Shutterstock
Updated 07 December 2021

Oil prices exceed $70 pushing aside omicron concerns

Oil prices exceed $70 pushing aside omicron concerns
  • Meanwhile, companies made offers on Monday to buy crude oil released from US strategic reserves

JEDDAH: Oil prices rose to $70 a barrel earlier on Dec. 7, as concerns eased about market demand and as fears of the omicron variant waned, Bloomberg reported.

Brent crude futures were up $1.66, or 2.3 percent, at $74.74 a barrel by 1005 GMT, after settling 4.6 percent higher on Monday.

US West Texas Intermediate crude was at $71.30 a barrel, up $1.81, or 2.6 percent, building on a 4.9 percent gain in the previous session.

At the weekend, Saudi Arabia increased the cost of its crude for buyers in Asia and the US, signaling that it still sees strong demand despite the wave of restrictions by various national governments in response to the latest variant of the COVID-19.

Meanwhile, companies made offers on Monday to buy crude oil released from US strategic reserves, according to Bloomberg.

The winning bids for the first 32 million barrels will be announced on Dec. 14. 


At least two oil refiners have expressed interests. 

The US release of crude is part of the Biden administration’s efforts to control gasoline prices, Bloomberg said.