Nod to KAC privatisation Cabinet OK sought

KUWAIT CITY, Jan 23: The Parliament Wednesday approved the reports of the Financial and Economic committee on two decrees — the privatization of Kuwait Airways Corporation (KAC) and the Commercial Companies laws. The decrees will be submitted to the Cabinet for approval.

The KAC decree was approved with 29 votes in favor and nine against with six abstentions. The Commercial Companies Law was approved with 30 votes in favor, five against and nine abstentions.
During the deliberation on the decrees the lawmakers made some observations mainly related to administrative and financial issues and urged the government to take into account these observations.
Rapporteur of the committee, MP Safa Al-Hashim said the committee discussed many crises facing the KAC with its board of directors. She added, the “KAC is clinically dead and our approval today will revive it.”

She explained the age of the current KAC fleet ranges from 16 to 20 years which indicates they are old and outdated. She added the KAC has zero capability of advertising and marketing its flights and that its final accounts (budgets) from 2004 to date have not been approved by the Parliament.

Minister of Communications and Housing Affairs, Salem Al-Utheina talking on the issue on behalf of the government said the observations made by the committee and the lawmakers are important and will be taken into consideration.

He explained the KAC is in deteriorated condition as a result of outdated fleet which has led to numerous technical breakdowns and cancellation of flights. He said these problems put the KAC in an embarrassing situation in front of its passengers and others who have suffered from the situation.

He added the KAC privatization has faced many problems due to global financial crises and the unstable political and security situation in the region which has had a severe impact on the size of the direct investment in the region and on the situation of traveling and air transport sector.

In addition to the above-mentioned problems, the minister mentioned some other reasons why this decree was issued to rescue the KAC from collapsing. The reasons include the stoppage by some companies that offer maintenance and technical services for the KAC fleet to 8 of 17 Airbus 300 and 310 models especially at the European airports due to their age. Another reason is lack of spare parts for some types of the planes in the market.

The Parliament also discussed a report of the Legal and Legislative committee on a government draft law on punishing human trafficking. The Rapporteur of the committee, Yaqoub Al-Sane indicated this bill is old on the committee’s agenda and needs to be completed.

Minister of Justice and Awkaf and Islamic Affairs Sharida Al-Moasherji stressed on the need to pass this law saying it is important to combat human trade and improve Kuwait’s image on the issue of human rights.

MP Faisal Al-Duwaisan reminded he had presented a draft bill for the establishment of an authority to combat human trafficking and therefore he demanded his bill be discussed together with the government draft law since both are talking about the same issue.

The minister explained the MP’s bill is related to a certain authority so it needs separate discussion.
The Rapporteur of the committee, Al-Sane requested withdrawal of government law from discussion and combined it with MP’s bill in another report. This requires a vote.

The Deputy Speaker of the Parliament, Mubarak Al-Khurainej said there is no quorum to vote on this request and decided to adjourn the session until Feb 5, 2013 to continue the discussion of this report.

By: Abubakar A. Ibrahim Arab Times Staff

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