Kuwait parliament passes $104bn development plan

DEVELOPMENT PLAN: Kuwait's parliament has approved a $140bn development plan aimed at decreasing the Gulf states dependence on oil.

Kuwait's parliament approved a $104.3 billion four year development plan on Tuesday aimed at decreasing the Gulf Arab state's dependence on oil, and boosting private sector participation in projects.

Addressing the parliment before the vote, Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs Sheikh Ahmad al Fahad al Sabah said: "It is estimated at $104.18 billion."

The plan, which runs to 2014, also includes investment on raising oil and natural gas production.

The package should also attract more investments into the Gulf Arab state and boost participation of the private sector in government projects.
Sheikh Ahmad said: "We will try to reach $24.3 billion(of spending) in the first year, some $13.8 billion for government investments and the rest for the private sector's investments."

He said the plan would take effect on April 1, 2010, at the beginning of the OPEC member's fiscal year.

After Tuesday's parliament vote, the draft will go back to the cabinet and then to the ruler for final approval.

On Monday, the cabinet approved a $16.6 billion bill for the development plan for the 2010/11 fiscal year.

Kuwait, the world's fourth largest oil exporter, is expected to spend $145-$180 billion dollars in its 2010/11 budget, Finance Minister Mustapha al Shamali said last month.

The 2010/11 budget, which includes spending on projects in the government's development plan, will be based on an oil price of $43 a barrel, Shamali said on Monday.

Kuwait logged a surplus of $21.9 billion in the first eight months of its fiscal year, due to higher oil revenues.

It had assumed an oil price of $35 a barrel in its 2009/10 budget which ends in March.