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NA approves Private Nursery, Housing Loan Increment bills ‘We will not accept any excuse for failure to pass bill’

KUWAIT CITY, Jan 22: The Parliament approved the Private Nursery and Housing Loan Increment bills on Wednesday. Both bills were referred to the government for implementation. Before voting on the housing loan increment bill, the Assembly amended it as per the proposal submitted by a number of MPs to give KD 100,000 loan; KD 70,000 of which will be paid and KD 30,000 as grant. During the second reading of the bill, the MPs pushed for its approval with all fingers pointed at the government as the reason behind the rejection of any kind of financial allocation draft bill aimed at improving the living conditions of citizens.

Perplexed by the government’s excuse that the bill will cost the country a fortune, MP Yousef Al-Zalzalah wondered how it will cost the country a fortune since it is just a loan to be returned after a period of time. He pointed out the Constitution mandates the legislative and executive authourities to ensure that the citizens enjoy the best living conditions possible.

He asserted the government continues to lie about the cost of giving the best to the people of Kuwait, while financial aids are granted elsewhere. “Since the government has been unable to prevent the illogical price hikes, we will not accept any excuse for failure to pass this bill,” he added.

On the other hand, MP Saleh Ashour said there is always some sort of meandering in the government when it comes to citizens’ welfare. He argued the current 70,000 housing loan was implemented when the oil price was around KD60 to KD70 a barrel. “The price of oil has reached KD 120 a barrel; therefore, it is only logical that we approve the proposed increment,” he concluded. MP Hussain Al-Guwaian pointed out, “When the Assembly discussed the Kuwait Airways Privatization, bill there were people inside the hall; but it is empty now because the public has given up. They lost hope and are sick of all the excuses the government has been giving to the public.” The lawmaker urged the government to stop this nonsensical move and respond to the Amiri request to provide the best to the people. He said, “We are just asking for a loan increment, not grants.

Financial grants worth billions of Kuwaiti dinars are approved in a blink of an eye; yet the KD 30,000 loan increment faces childish complications.” Meanwhile, MP Adnan AbdulSamad asked if the KD 30,000 will be a grant or if it will considered a loan to become KD 100,000. MP Mubarak Al-Hurais responded, indicating that according to the Financial Affairs Committee rapporteur the loan increment is KD 30,000. The MPs then voiced preference for the KD 30,000 grant rather than increment, such that the beneficiaries will pay only KD 70,000 out of KD 100,000. This prompted the MPs to present a proposal to amend the bill; it was put to vote and approved quickly. Following the amendment, the Assembly voted on the bill in its second reading with 49 votes in favor and one abstained. Moreover, the Assembly continued the second reading of the Private Nursery bill.

This came after the bill was referred to the Legislative Affairs Committee for revision due to disagreements between MPs on the terminologies. After reading the revised bill, some MPs expressed concern over the possible change in content. AbdulSamad asserted the committee must be careful in revising the bill as certain changes like commas or full stops may completely alter the meaning. Agreeing with his colleague, MP Jamal Al-Omar stated the meaning has been changed due to the revision; thereby, demanding for an investigation. However, the speaker rejected the demand and the voting process pushed through on the condition that in case the bill is approved; it will not be referred to the government until an investigation is carried out in line with the demand of AbdulSamad and Al- Omar. The bill was approved with 42 votes in favor and five abstained. After the session, the MPs congratulated the people of Kuwait for the approval of important bills in the last two consecutive sessions; especially the housing loan increment which they described as the first tangible step towards addressing the housing issue.

By: Ahmed Al-Naqeeb Arab Time Staff

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