In Kuwait, a proposal for an 18th birthday present of $50,000 for all citizens

KUWAIT CITY (AFP) - A Kuwaiti MP filed a bill on Thursday to create a government-funded trust fund for every citizen from birth that would become an 18th birthday present of around US$40,000 (S$50,600).

Under MP Askar al-Enezi's proposal, the government of the oil-rich Gulf state would deposit 50 dinars (S$225) each month into an account for each citizen from the time of birth.

The money would be managed by the country's sovereign wealth fund, Kuwait Investment Authority, and the capital and profits handed to citizens when they become adults.

Mr Enezi said his proposal aims to help young people lead a dignified life when they become adults and that they could use the money for university studies, marriage or other purposes.

The proposal must now be passed by parliament and accepted by the government to become law.

The emirate already provides a generous cradle-to-grave welfare system, with citizens entitled to basic services either free of charge or at highly subsidised rates.

But the government warned in October that current spending levels are unsustainable, insisting there was an urgent need to reduce subsidies on fuel, electricity and water and raise charges on public services.

Kuwait, with a native population of just 1.24 million, has assets worth more than US$400 billion, mostly in investments overseas, managed by KIA.