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Chapter | Tax from The Report: Kuwait 2017

This chapter contains an overview of the tax framework under which local and foreign investors operate, including a look at the value-added tax being rolled out in Kuwait and across the GCC, a rundown of the remittance, excise and corporate taxes in place and an outline of the tax incentives and credits under the new investment law.

Chapter | Health from The Report: Kuwait 2017

Over the last five years Kuwait’s health care industry has gained significant momentum, adequately responding to rapid population growth by simultaneously addressing capacity constraints and improving the quality of health infrastructure. Despite the decline in oil prices and a budget deficit of over KD12bn ($39.7bn), health care spending remains a priority for the government. Although the state has traditionally acted as the main payer in the health care system, covering roughly 86% of expenditures in the country in 2014, government objectives are now aimed at increasing private sector participation to meet the growing demand for health care and reduce the burden on the state budget. This chapter contains an interview with Dr Ahmed Al Saleh, CEO, Health Assurance Hospitals Company.

Chapter | Retail from The Report: Kuwait 2017

Driven by rapid urbanisation, the influx of the expatriate workforce, and a rising population of the young and affluent, Kuwait’s retail industry has grown dramatically over the past 10 years. High GDP per capita and the growing popularity of modern retail concepts and formats have also helped to position the country as a major hub for global luxury brands, earning Kuwait City a ninth place ranking among the top cities worldwide for retailing in property consultancy JLL’s 2016 “Destination Retail” report. However, after several years of rapid growth, subdued consumer confidence somewhat slowed momentum in the sector in 2015-16. Between government reductions in expenditure, demographic changes within the expatriate community and inflated commodity prices, the market is down across most classes and categories. However, in spite of this, a wide and growing array of international retailers are expected to level out the market ahead of another retail boom over the medium to long term.

Chapter | Industry from The Report: Kuwait 2017

The state-owned oil industry is by far the largest sector in Kuwait’s economy, representing more than half of GDP, 95% of exports and roughly four-fifths of state revenues. As oil and its byproducts are used to make more than 300,000 products globally, the country’s petroleum-based industries and petrochemicals hold significant growth potential. By comparison, non-petroleum industrial manufacturing is limited, as Kuwait lacks many of the natural resources necessary to establish alternative major industries. Relative security, political stability, economic performance, infrastructure projects and proximity to labour markets in Asia are all positive factors supporting the growth of Kuwait’s industry, but challenges include its domestic market size, limited supply of industrial land, production costs and considerable licensing and permitting issues. However recently announced government plans to boost Kuwait’s industrial output by 25% in the next few years bodes well for sector growth. This chapter contains an interview with Faisal Awwad Al Khaldi, Deputy CEO, Kuwait Steel.

Chapter | Telecoms from The Report: Kuwait 2017

Characterised by high penetration rates, early adoption of new technology and healthy average revenue per user, the Kuwait telecommunications sector is a small but profitable market in which three major regional providers compete. Faced with the erosion of traditional voice and text revenue streams, all three companies are focusing on strategies to improve services while also monetising data as they seek to carve out new roles in the digital lifestyle economy. Kuwait is a mature market where each of the three operators know success will likely depend on how they adapt to – and generate revenues from – the next generation of change in an increasingly digitised society. A new industry regulator could also further shape the business practices of major players as they build connections with international technology partners to gain a competitive edge. This chapter contains an interview with Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Badran, CEO, VIVA Kuwait.

Chapter | ICT from The Report: Kuwait 2017

ICT sits at the heart of the government’s 2035 strategy, New Kuwait, launched in 2017, but Kuwait has already made great strides in the digital economy. In the “Global Information Technology Report 2016” by the World Economic Forum, the country was among the biggest risers, and regulatory reforms are being put in place to usher in an era where tech companies help speed up the evolution towards a diversified and knowledge-based economy. State funding is being used to create an ecosystem that will help start-ups develop, while larger firms and state agencies work to boost efficiency and productivity through a growing range of solutions that streamline processes and allow the real-time analysis of consumer behaviour. Although ICT covers all sectors of the economy, its true significance is partially captured by government data on the industry. According to the latest data available from the Central Statistical Bureau, the communications sector generated KD1.294bn ($3.92bn) in GDP in 2015, up marginally from KD1.292bn ($3.91bn) the previous year. This was equal to 5.2% of non-oil GDP and 3.2% of overall GDP at current prices. This chapter contains an interview with Qusai Al Shatti, Acting Director-General, Central Agency for Information Technology.