Kuwait lockdown
Kuwait has been stringent on all overseas trips, and this is reaping huge savings for the economy. Image Credit: AFP

Abu Dhabi: Kuwait is counting a different sort of saving - an estimated $1 billion may have been saved by now after the government put a halt to all foreign trips after the COVID-19 pandemic struck 

These include government sponsored missions and participation in overseas conferences and exhibitions, as well as spending on official functions, sponsorships and gifts.

"The most prominent expense that's been cut is spending on travel by government delegations, whether within the Gulf or for regional and international events," said an analyst. Officials would attend with entourages of up to five people.

“Of course, the huge expenses would extend to overnight stays, food and local transportation, and travel allowance, which were included in the budgets of ministries and government institutions as general expenses,” the analyst added.

For many officials, these trips were an opportunity to reward some of their favourites, and the "tradition in the majority of ministries and government agencies was not to miss external invitations to attend conferences," the analyst added. “Coronavirus has proved these events can be attended right from the officials’ homes.”