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    Kuwait prepares framework for northern economic zone

07:46 24 June 2022 Author :  

A ministerial committee has begun procedures to prepare a clear framework for work environment in the northern economic zone as it awaits a new government, following the National Assembly elections in few months. Official sources said the 15 government entities that are members of the committee must complete their job in the next nine months before the new 2023-2024 budget which starts by April 2023.

There should be practical mechanisms to establish an economic zone in northern Kuwait – with a legal investment structure. The sources said that the work plan targets 2025 as a date to implement the economic zone project, adding that the government will create an Authority (in 2025) which will be named the Northern Economic Zone Authority.

Meanwhile, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Secretary General Dr Nayef Al-Hajraf has welcomed the planned meeting between GCC commerce ministers and UK International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan in Riyadh on Wednesday. In a press statement, the GCC chief stated that the GCC states are interested in bolstering economic and trade cooperation with the United Kingdom. He admired the constructive moves taken by both sides to achieve this goal since their latest meeting in London last October. Al-Hajraf noted that they have discussed during this meeting signing a joint free trade agreement to signal a new milestone in GCC-UK relations.

Labor ban mulled

In other news, Kuwait government is studying a proposal to ban all types of visas given to expatriates from 10 countries, mostly African, because they do not have embassies in Kuwait, local media reported. Kuwait’s Interior Ministry is currently considering banning all types of visas to citizens of 10 countries, including seven African states: Madagascar, Ghana, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Benin, Mali and Congo.

The three other non-African countries have not been identified. According to an Arabic daily report, these countries do not have embassies in Kuwait although there are thousands of their citizens working in the country, making the deportation of violators and those involved in crimes difficult. Sources said the deportation of convicted expatriate residents from the 10 countries is very complex and time-consuming process – posing a threat to the country’s security.

Another reason is that there are no direct flights between Kuwait and these countries. Local media indicated that some violators from these countries deliberately conceal or destroy their passports, making it difficult for security services because there are no embassies in Kuwait where they can get travel documents issued for the deported people to be able to leave the country.

Many convicted people from the 10 countries have been in jail for long time because they destroyed their documents. Kuwait resorted to the embassies of their countries in Saudi Arabia and the UAE to get their official documents issued in order to deport them. – Agencies

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