Kuwait Finance Minister Forecasts $85 Bn Deficit Over Next Four Years

Kuwait’s Finance and Investment Minister Dr. Anwar Al-Mudhaf (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Kuwait’s Finance and Investment Minister Dr. Anwar Al-Mudhaf (Asharq Al-Awsat)
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Kuwait Finance Minister Forecasts $85 Bn Deficit Over Next Four Years

Kuwait’s Finance and Investment Minister Dr. Anwar Al-Mudhaf (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Kuwait’s Finance and Investment Minister Dr. Anwar Al-Mudhaf (Asharq Al-Awsat)

Kuwait’s Finance and Investment Minister, Dr. Anwar Al-Mudhaf, anticipates a budget deficit of 26 billion dinars ($85 billion) over the next four years. Speaking to Kuwait TV, he revealed that in the past decade alone, Kuwait accumulated a deficit of 33 billion dinars ($107.7 billion), financed from state reserves.

Looking ahead to the 2024-2025 fiscal year, Kuwait expects revenues of 18.9 billion dinars ($61.7 billion) against expenditures of 24.5 billion dinars ($80 billion), resulting in a projected deficit of 5.6 billion dinars ($18.2 billion).

Al-Mudhaf emphasized the need for economic reforms, focusing on fiscal sustainability and diversifying non-oil revenues to strengthen Kuwait’s economy.

He outlined nine initiatives aimed at restructuring the budget and increasing non-oil income, stressing that these reforms are essential and supported by the country's leadership.

Regarding social support, Al-Mudhaf assured that citizens’ salaries will be unaffected, with subsidies directed more equitably to those in genuine need. He highlighted the importance of fair distribution of support, addressing disparities between individual and corporate beneficiaries.

Al-Mudhaf reaffirmed Kuwait’s commitment to economic reform through initiatives aimed at enhancing trade, tourism, and financial sectors while preserving reserves for future generations.

Moreover, the minister emphasized that the country’s ruler has directed clear efforts to boost new investment opportunities, refuting claims of impending salary or bonus cuts as untrue. He urged people not to trust social media rumors about the Ministry of Finance or any other ministry.

Regarding foreign investments, the Al-Mudhaf said: “We have multiple agreements with Chinese firms and are working on developing free trade zones.”

“The Chinese government has assigned a company to handle and represent its interests in Kuwait, particularly at Mubarak Port. Additionally, there are agreements concerning the Shaqaya project, housing developments, and the northern region,” he clarified.

Al-Mudhaf also stressed the importance of supporting the private sector, expanding trade, and diversifying financial tools.



New Legislation Facilitates Investment in Saudi Tourism Sector

Saudi Minister of Tourism Ahmed Al-Khatib (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Saudi Minister of Tourism Ahmed Al-Khatib (Asharq Al-Awsat)
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New Legislation Facilitates Investment in Saudi Tourism Sector

Saudi Minister of Tourism Ahmed Al-Khatib (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Saudi Minister of Tourism Ahmed Al-Khatib (Asharq Al-Awsat)

Saudi Minister of Tourism Ahmed Al-Khatib said, in an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, that work is underway on new regulations and legislation that will facilitate the investment process in the Kingdom.
Saudi Arabia is witnessing a major transformation in the tourism sector after it enacted and developed a number of regulations and launched mega projects that allowed the country to attract more than 100 million visitors last year, the target initially set for 2030.
During a press conference on Wednesday at the Abu Faraj heritage palaces in Al-Aziza, west of the city of Abha in the southern Aseer region, Al-Khatib revealed the ministry’s moves to provide appropriate long-term funding at a competitive cost in order to encourage investment in the Saudi tourism system.
In his remarks to Asharq Al-Awsat, the minister pointed to the most prominent achievements in the sector, revealing that the Kingdom received 60 million visitors during the first half of 2024, with spending amounting to SAR 143 billion ($38.1 billion), recording about 10 percent growth in the number of tourists and spending.
He added that by the end of the first half of this year, the sector’s contribution to the gross domestic product had reached 5 percent, and was moving steadily toward achieving 10 percent, which is equivalent to SAR 600-700 billion of tourism income.
Moreover, Al-Khatib also spoke about the launch of the Bachelor of International Hospitality Management program, a partnership between the Ministry of Tourism, King Khalid University, and Hong Kong Polytechnic University.
He noted that a memorandum of understanding was signed between the Ministry of Tourism and the Colleges of Excellence Company, with the aim of developing human capabilities and expanding international specialized technical colleges and strategic partnership institutes in the field of tourism and hospitality.
Al-Khateeb said 10,000 training opportunities both inside and outside the Kingdom would be allocated to those working in the Aseer region’s tourism sector.
The National Tourism Strategy aims to reach over 150 million local and international tourists by 2030. In 2023, it reached 109 million.
The minister added: “The Tourism Development Fund plays an important role in providing financing, allocating SAR 7.4 billion to enable over 100 tourism projects around the Kingdom with a value exceeding SAR 35 billion.”
He pointed out that the fund financed 10 major projects in the Aseer region, ranging from international hotels to multi-use projects with a value exceeding one billion riyals. International hotel brands included: InterContinental Residence in Abha, DoubleTree in Khamis Mushait Governorate, and Khayal Walk Boulevard.