The Public Sector

The public sector runs the Government's affairs and comprises over 30 ministries, public authorities and institutes. The major ministries are defense, oil, public works, finance and planning, interior, health, education, communications and electricity and water.

A number of major projects are under way within the various ministries. Current projects include extensions to the highway system, construction of three electricity sub-stations, redevelopment of the Kuwait University campuses and a very large construction project of an industrial water treatment plant in Sulaibiya with a capacity of 16 million gallons per day. Five consortiam have been approved in the pre-tender qualification and bids for the water treatment project which is valued at upwards of $250 million are expected to be submitted in early 1999. This list continues to grow and is by no means exhaustive, but serves to illustrate the scale and variety of current projects.

One of the largest public authorities is the Public Housing Authority, which is responsible for meeting the increasing demand for housing. A number of projects are on the drawing board, including a new city at Subiya in the north eastern part of Kuwait. This will involve the construction of a multi-lane causeway across Kuwait bay. It is very likely that this project will involve private sector participation which will help to reduce the growing demands on the budget.

The state-owned Touristic Enterprises Company (TEC) manages most of Kuwait's tourist facilities, including the famous Kuwait Towers a landmark and emblem of Kuwait, the Entertainment City at Doha, sea club developments along the coastline including a luxury development at Khiran near the border with Saudi Arabia. TEC is involved in a number of schemes that are expected to open in 1999, the major one being the underwater aquarium and Imax theatre complex in Salmiya with funding coming from the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences (KFAS).

The Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA) is the Government agency responsible for the state shareholdings in upwards of 60 local companies. In 1994, KIA commenced the sale of these shareholdings in a privatization program that is expected to be completed by the year 2002. Public offerings or placements take place on a planned regular basis to avoid an over supply situation and meet the regular demands of the market. The Government plans to privatize the Public Utilities through KIA with the first utility likely to be the Ministry of Communications. The major stumbling block has been the problem of reduced manpower that will be the result of any privatization.

Kuwait Airways (KAC) is another public utility that may be privatized with the Government retaining a 40% share and a further 10% being allocated for KAC staff. KAC has undergone a fleet modernization program with two Boeing 777's recently added to the fleet of 18. The attendants received their new uniforms in 1998 and its on-board services have been upgraded to bring its standards of customer care into line with the world's top airlines.