Kuwait City
An aerial view of Kuwait City. Image Credit: AFP

Cairo: Kuwait has collected KD4.8 million in power bills from expatriates before their departure from the country’s land and air exits since September, a Kuwaiti newspaper has reported.

As of September 1, Kuwait began implementing a government decree requiring all expatriates to pay their electricity and water bills before leaving the country. Earlier, the Interior Ministry alerted foreigners to clear all their outstanding traffic fines before leaving Kuwait.

Al Rai newspaper, citing sources at the Kuwaiti Ministry of Electricity, Water and Renewal Energy, reported that collecting bills from foreigners has not delayed the departure trip of any expatriate.

The ministry’s system has been linked to the Interior Ministry’s since September as part of coordination in implementing the decree.

“Many expatriates, who owed debts in electricity bills, paid them before travel although some of these debts were high,” the sources said.

“The linkage with the Interior Ministry is a right step to collect the overdue debts owed by some consumers,” the sources added, putting the value of bills paid by expatriates in August before the linkage at nearly KD1.2 million.

The government has said the measures are aimed to protect state money and collect overdue revenue.

Foreigners make up nearly 3.4 million of Kuwait’s overall population of 4.6 million.

The country is seeking to redress its demographic imbalance and replace foreign workers with its citizens as part of an employment policy dubbed “Kuwaitisation”.

Kuwait has recently toughened measures against illegal foreign residents and warned that any expatriate covering up an unlawful resident will be deported too.

Illegal foreign residents are estimated at 150,000 in Kuwait.

Kuwaiti individuals or companies employing illegal migrants could face charges of unlawfully sheltering and covering up illegals.