Kuwait’s Prime Minister Sheikh Ahmad Nawaf al-Sabah has announced a cabinet reshuffle which includes the appointment of a new finance minister. The reshuffle keeps major roles unchanged, according to state news agency KUNA. The move comes over a month after the government resigned due to differences with the opposition-controlled parliament.
Manaf Abdulaziz Al Hajri has been appointed as the new minister for finance and minister of state for economic and investment affairs, while Bader Al Mulla will continue as the incumbent oil minister.
According to Ahmad al-Din, a member of the political bureau of the Kuwaiti Progressive Movement, the government’s top priority is to regain the trust of the people. He believes that by removing former finance minister Abd al-Wahhab al-Rasheed, who was a source of tension with the 2022 parliament, the current government is hoping for the return of the 2022 parliament.
Kuwait is known for having some of the world’s largest oil reserves and strong fiscal and external balance sheets. However, political disagreements and institutional roadblocks have hindered investment and the implementation of reforms aimed at reducing the country’s heavy dependence on oil revenue. This has made it essential for the government to gain the public’s trust and support in order to move forward with these critical reforms.
Tensions have been high between Kuwait’s Prime Minister Sheikh Ahmad Nawaf al-Sabah and the speaker of the National Assembly since the Constitutional Court nullified the results of last September’s elections in March.
As a part of a cabinet reshuffle, the Prime Minister appointed a new Finance Minister, Manaf Abdulaziz Al Hajri, who has a notable background in finance and business circles, having served as the CEO of Kuwait Financial Center for 16 years. Meanwhile, 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.
The Kuwaiti government has been working to overcome political gridlock and implement economic reforms to reduce its reliance on oil revenues, but progress has been hampered by institutional challenges and disagreements.