Reeling from coronavirus impact, Kuwait seeks to resolve ‘demographic imbalance’

Filipino workers trying to get amnesty are seen waiting outside the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait City in this file picture. — Courtesy photo

Saudi Gazette report

KUWAIT CITY — As Kuwait reels from the impact of coronavirus pandemic and an unprecedented collapse in oil prices, it seeks to address the country’s “demographic imbalance”.

Highlighting the issue during his meeting with editors of local newspapers, Kuwait Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah said on Wednesday that the country is facing a "big challenge" as residents far outnumber citizens.

“Kuwait has a population of some 4.8 million people, out of which only 1.45 million are Kuwaitis and around 3.34 million are non-Kuwaitis,” Kuwait News Agency quoted the Kuwaiti premier as saying.

"The ideal situation would be that Kuwaitis account for 70 percent and non-Kuwaitis 30 percent, so we have a big challenge in the future which is to address the demographic imbalance."

Citing an example, he said there are 750,000 foreign domestic helpers in the country, making up half of the Kuwaiti population.

"The demographic imbalance issue needs time to be solved, and it should be done in a phased manner," he said.

"We rely on our sons and daughters to work in all professions," he added.

The government, he said, was keen on cooperating with the parliament to reach fruitful results.

On the coronavirus situation it the country, the Kuwaiti premier said: “The health of all citizens and the residents is more important than the economy, as we are facing a difficult equation. Thus, we work according to our available capabilities to narrow the gap and reduce the damage as much as possible by passing the economic package.