NIA expresses its ‘support’ for grilling request against Shamali Committee said to go back to ‘Defaulters Fund’

KUWAIT CITY, Feb 1: The National Islamic Alliance (NIA) has expressed its support for a grilling request which MP Nawaf Al-Fuzai plans to submit in mid-February 2013 against Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Mustafa Al-Shamali on the issue of writing off accrued interests on consumer loans which was earlier announced by MP Nawaf Al-Fuzai to submitted in mid-February because the minister has failed to hold the banks responsible.

The National Islamic Alliance is a Shiite-affiliated bloc comprising Shiite lawmakers Ahmed Lari, Adnan Abdul-Samad and Khalil Abdullah. Like the members of this alliance, many Shiite lawmakers support the proposals to write off the loans and criticized Al-Shamali, also a Shiite, for rejecting the proposal.
MP Khalil Abdullah has stated the bloc will study the contents of the grilling request before giving its opinion on the issue. He noted, “The issue of writing off the loans lies in the hands of the Parliament and the government and the special session that is slated to discuss this issue will make the issue clear for lawmakers.”

He added, “If Al-Shamali is not capable of holding the banks responsible and retrieve money of borrowers which vanished wrongfully, then he should be ready to face the grilling.”

On the other hand parliamentary sources stated the Financial and Economic Affairs Committee of the National Assembly will most likely not submit its report on the writing off of accrued interest which it completed a few days ago and unanimously agreed to present it to the Parliament for discussion and voting.

The sources expect the committee to go back to the “Defaulters Fund” which was earlier proposed by the government by just making some amendments to it.

The sources said the surprised retreat by some lawmakers and the financial committee from supporting the writing off of the loan interests can be attributed to two major reasons — first is about the legality of the process as fatwa was recently issued by the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs that writing off the loan interests violates Islamic Sharia and second a vast number of the lawmakers believes the proposal lacks fairness among the citizens and favors the debtors at the expense of others who either did not take the loans or took them and settled them at the right time.

Meanwhile, member of the committee, MP Yousef Al-Zalzalah announced he will hold a seminar in his Diwaniya on Sunday to explain the reason why the committee changed its stance towards the loan interests’ issue.

By: Abubakar A. Ibrahim Arab Times Staff

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