Kuwait will no longer hire expats in oil sector: Minister

June 10, 2020
Kuwait Oil Minister Khaled Al-Fadhel is seen addressing a parliamentary committee session on Wednesday. — KUNA photo
Kuwait Oil Minister Khaled Al-Fadhel is seen addressing a parliamentary committee session on Wednesday. — KUNA photo

Saudi Gazette report

KUWAIT — With the economy reeling from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and a collapse in oil prices, there are growing calls in Kuwait to nationalize jobs with lawmakers regularly making comments on the issue.

On Wednesday, Kuwait Oil Minister Khaled Al-Fadhel announced that Kuwait would no longer hire expatriates for jobs in its oil sector, Kuwait News Agency reported.

Al-Fadhel, who is also acting minister of electricity and water, said: “Non-Kuwaiti nationals won't be hired at Kuwait Petroleum Corp., the main state-run energy producer, and its subsidiaries for 2020-2021.

In a warning to oil companies, the minister vowed not to stand "hand-cuffed" toward those wanting to lay off Kuwaiti workers.

"The price of the oil has dropped during the global coronavirus pandemic crisis due to the market glut and the drop in demand, however, there are signs of recovery in the oil market and prices have risen," the minister was quoted as saying.

The oil sector must not remain the only source for income, Al Fadhel stressed, underlining the importance of the private sector's involvement in boosting the national economy.

The move is part of a series of similar actions that have been taken recently to reduce the dependence on foreign workers.

Earlier this month, Kuwait's Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al Khalid Al-Sabah said the country should reduce its expatriate population to 30 percent from the current 70 percent.

Foreigners account for nearly 3.4 million of Kuwait's 4.8 million population, and "we have a future challenge to redress this imbalance," the prime minister said.

Last month, the Kuwait Municipality, an administrative arm of the central government in Kuwait City employing more than 1,000 expatriate workers, decided to give pink-slips to its foreign employees.

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