| 5 December 2023, Tuesday |

Kuwait PM appoints finance minister in cabinet reshuffle

Kuwaiti Prime Minister Sheikh Ahmad Nawaf al-Sabah has named a new finance minister as part of a cabinet reshuffle that has left other key positions unchanged, according to state news agency KUNA.

More than a month after the government resigned in response to disagreements with an opposition-controlled parliament, the crown prince reappointed Sheikh Ahmad as prime minister in March.

Manaf Abdulaziz Al Hajri was named finance minister and minister of state for economic and investment affairs, while incumbent oil minister Bader Al Mulla retained his position.

“The biggest challenge for the government is to regain the trust of the people,” said Ahmad al-Din, member of the political bureau of the Kuwaiti Progressive Movement (left).

“The removal of Abd al-Wahhab al-Rasheed (former finance minister), who was an element of tension with the 2022 parliament, indicates that the current government is betting on the return of the 2022 parliament,” he added.

Kuwait holds some of the world’s largest oil reserves and has strong fiscal and external balance sheets, but political bickering and institutional gridlock have hampered investment and reforms aimed at reducing its heavy reliance on oil revenues.

Relations have been particularly tense between the prime minister and the speaker of the National Assembly, elected in 2020, since the Constitutional Court in March annulled last September’s election results.

Finance Minister Al Hajri was CEO of asset management and banking institution Kuwait Financial Center for 16 years before resigning in 2020 and is well-known in business and finance circles in Kuwait.

Sheikh Talal Al-Khaled Al-Sabah was re-appointed as minister of interior and acting minister of defence, and Sheikh Salem Abdullah Al-Jaber Al-Sabah remains foreign minister.

  • Reuters