As the world's sixth-largest oil exporter, Kuwait's oil revenue of $63.5 billion between April and November of last year, accounted for 95 percent of the government's total revenue in the period.
While there is no income tax in the country, Kuwaiti nationals must contribute 7.5 percent of their salary for social security benefits; their employers make an 11 percent contribution. Despite being one of the world's wealthiest countries per capita, strikes and protests by public sector workers unhappy about pay have led the government to introduce a 25 percent increase in wages. The IMF, however, warned Kuwait in May that such spending could impact the sustainability of its public finances . Only 7 percent of Kuwaitis work in the private sector, and the rising cost of retirement could put pressure on government spending.
Kuwait is no stranger to political turmoil, ushering in four new parliaments in the past six years. The country has been marred with corruption scandals implicating key political figures, while poor parliament-government relations have hampered policymaking. The IMF has recommended that Kuwait introduce a value-added tax and comprehensive income tax system.
Pictured: Kuwaiti women walking through a souq