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Assembly OKs SMEs bill Draft laws forwarded to govt

KUWAIT CITY, Jan 9: The Parliament approved Thursday a number of draft bills on small and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs), monetary system, Central Bank of Kuwait, regulating the banking profession, and changing the name of Credit and Savings Bank to ‘Kuwait Credit Bank’ in the first and second readings.

These bills were forwarded to the government for approval. During the session, the legislative authority also approved proposals on electronic transactions, privatization of Kuwait Airways Corporation and the nursery homes in the first reading. These bills are expected to approve in the second reading within the next two weeks.

The Parliament unanimously approved in the first and second reading the report of the Financial and Economic Affairs Committee on the proposed amendment to law number 98/2013 to establish a national fund for financing and developing small and mediumscale enterprises.

This is in addition to the approval of the committee’s report about the recommended amendments to some provisions of law number 32/1968 on the monetary system, Central Bank of Kuwait and the need to regulate the banking profession; as well as the proposal to change the name of Credit and Savings Bank to ‘Kuwait Credit Bank’.

Meanwhile, the Parliament approved the electronic transactions bill in its first reading with 43 votes in favor and two against; while 40 voted for the proposed privatization of Kuwait Airways Corporation, two against and two abstained. The nursery homes bill was also approved with 42 votes in favor. During deliberations on the electronic transactions bill, the MPs stressed the need to process transactions in government institutions electronically in order to eliminate corruption and bureaucracy. They also called for enactment of laws on electronic crimes. MP Abdul-Rahman Al- Jeeran suggested the establishment of an electronic network jurisdiction to deal with people involved in electronic crimes.

Addressing the education minister, Al-Jeeran asserted, “If we study computers, we must also study the ethics of using this technology.” MP Safa Al-Hashim said the government must have an integrated electronic network, especially since some public institutions do not have the facility like Kuwait Municipality. She pointed out the manual processing of transactions contributes to the spread of corruption because the procedures are not completed without the payment of bribe.

MP Khalil Abdullah emphasized the importance of securing information prior to the implementation of the proposal. He said there should be an authority tasked to supervise the entire process to ensure that data exchanged online are protected. He argued the technology changes rapidly; so there is no need to link the electronic transaction system with social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter or WhatsApp.

He added that under such circumstances the government must enact a law to support the system. MP Yacoub Al-Sane said Kuwait is the first country in the Middle East to present the e-government idea but there is a problem in the implementation. He called for the ratification of a law to unify the scientific terminologies, indicating that the implementation of the proposal will yield positive results. MP Riyadh Al-Adsani pointed out the bill is overdue as it should have been passed in 1985; claiming most government institutions have disappointed the Kuwaiti youths like the ministries of Social Affairs, Labor, Interior, and Commerce, as well as the Kuwait Municipality.

He lamented, “If one wants to finish his transaction, he must ask an influential person to intervene on his behalf.” He also alleged that corruption is widespread in the Ministry of Electricity and Water where some employees accept bribes before finalizing transactions for the supply of electricity, especially when the applicants are business persons. MP Faisal Al-Duwaisan hopes the implementation of this proposal will be followed by an awareness campaign; considering most people use social networking sites for entertainment purposes without knowing that some of their online activities may lead to legal problems. During the debate on the privatization of Kuwait Airways Corporation, MP Yousef Al-Zalzalah urged his colleagues to vote on the proposal and complete the first round of discussion as the public is now fed up of the unending talks on the issue.

Most of his colleagues agreed with him; hence, the approval of the bill in its first reading. Parliament Speaker Marzouq Al- Ghanem adjourned the legislative session until Jan 21 and reminded everyone that there will be a special session on Jan 14 to discuss the Dow Chemical issue.

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

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