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MP unhappy over Kuwait’s slide in anti-graft indicators Al-Kandari wants detailed report on Arab-Africa summit

KUWAIT CITY, Dec 9: Results of a study carried out by the State Audit Bureau have shown that projects subjected to prior censorship are usually implemented quickly than the ones which are not, say sources close to the Budget and Final Account Committee in the Parliament. Meanwhile, MP Abdul-Karim Al-Kandari has expressed disappointment over Kuwait’s deterioration in terms of the anti-corruption indicators based on GCC, Arab and international standards. He lamented, “Today, the world celebrates anti-corruption efforts; yet Kuwait is drowning in corruption up to the extent of being on top of the list of Gulf states despite the presence of many oversight agencies like the bureau, Fatwa and Legislation Department, and the Anti-Corruption Authority.” He added some are calling for the cancellation of prior censorship under the pretext that it disrupts the implementation of projects. “If we agree that bureaucracy disrupts projects, the solution is not the cancellation of censorship. If that happens, it will lead to the cancellation of all forms of censorship.

Actually, we should push for the implementation of prior censorship to get rid of the bureaucratic process. On the other hand, Al-Kandari presented parliamentary queries to Minister of Finance Sheikh Salem Al- Sabah on the budget allocated for the Arab-African Summit. He wants to know the budget allotted for the summit and the actual expenditures. He demanded for a detailed report on the summit-related expenditures, including the cost of hosting the participants. In the meantime, the National Assembly Office received a letter from Minister of Social Affairs and Labor Thikra Al-Rashidi; requesting for clarifications on some of the points in the interpellation submitted by MP Hamdan Al-Azmi. One of the contentious points is the lawmaker’s accusation that the minister issued a decision for the benefit of visa traders. She wants to know what is the decision and date of issuance. On the lawmaker’s claim that 10 percent of ‘standby’ laborers have not been paid so they are wandering around in search for work, the minister asked for clarification on the meaning of ‘unpaid labor’.

Furthermore, MPs Adnan AdulSamad and Khalil Abdullah submitted two draft bills - one on the establishment of a public authority for transportation and another on the establishment of a licensed cooperative company for livestock trading. On the proposed public authority for transportation, the two lawmakers said the authority will be headed by the public works minister and it will be in charge of studying, planning and implementing a modern transportation network to prevent traffic jams.

The authority will also ensure the safety of roads according to international standards, in addition to the maintenance of roads, they added. On the cooperative company for livestock trading, the bill states that  the shares will be divided - 24 percent for government institutes, 50 percent for citizens and 26 percent for auction at the Kuwaiti Stock Market. In the meantime, MP Yaqoub Al- Sane submitted a proposal on making students, who also work in the private sector, eligible for the monthly labor support allowance granted by Government Manpower Restructuring Program (GMRP). The MP presented the proposal due to GMRP’s regulation that students are not entitled to the allowance, so they have to choose between work and study.

Also, MP Osama Al-Tahous forwarded questions to the interior minister on the government’s decision to allow 14 and 18-wheeler trucks and other heavy vehicles to ply through the highways in urban areas from 1:00am to 6:00am. He wants to know why the decision is not being enforced and if the Public Authority for Traffic Affairs has any plan to solve the traffic problems, as well as the procedures taken in issuing a license to drive heavy-vehicles. Meanwhile, Committee Chairman Adnan AbdulSamad disclosed they discussed the final account of the Ministry of Public Works, which has the largest portion of the budget stipulated in Chapter Four. He said 92 percent of the budget approved for the ministry has been used, while the budget allotted for some approved projects have been reallocated for those still waiting for approval. He pointed out this step makes it difficult to estimate the budget accurately, asserting the final account does not match the budget.

By: Abubakar A. Ibrahim and Ahmed Al-Naqeeb Arab Times Staff

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