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MP slams govt over rejection of child, rent allowance hike drafts ‘Assembly will not back down from any proposal’

KUWAIT CITY, Jan 25: MP Hamdan Al-Azmi expressed his appreciation for the efforts exerted by the Financial Affairs Committee on their report regarding the proposed child and rent allocation increment bills; noting that although the Assembly hoped for KD 100 increment, thanks to the parliamentary collaboration as they reached an agreement on granting KD 75 increase.

Al-Azmi said the government seems reluctant when it comes to proposals aimed at improving the living conditions of citizens despite the cooperation witnessed between the executive and legislative authorities. He pointed out there are various forms of public funds squandering which the government can be blamed for, such as the properties rented by the authority without being used for years and the large amount of grants to other countries.

The MP disclosed that based on a governmental report on the child allocation increment, this bill will cost the country around KD 1.25 billion by April 4, 2014. He was quick to add though that “if we look at the financial aids granted to other countries in the past two years, we will find out a total of KD 970,577,242.332 was granted to 74 countries as at Jan 19, 2014.” On the house rent allocation, the MP said the House Rent Allocation Department in the State Ministry for Housing Affairs spends KD 195 million a year allocated to 110,141 beneficiaries. He added if the increment is approved, the yearly expenditure will be KD 318 million, affirming that this difference is nothing compared to the large sum spent on financial aid grants in the past two years. Baffled by the numbers, the MP wondered about the logic behind the government’s rejection of the bill. He asserted this only proves that the government would rather please monopolizing figures rather than the citizens. He said this further strengthens his belief that the government is not sincere in cooperating with the Parliament, indicating it was not easy to approve the housing loan increment bill because of the government.

Putting the blame on the government, the MP claimed these increment bills are nothing but the result of the government’s refusal or rather incapability to solve or curb unreasonable hikes in the prices of food, rent, land and almost everything susceptible to monopoly. The MP, therefore, demanded for the government to stop illogical actions and statements; and put the Kuwaiti public’s interest above all.

Agreeing with his colleague, MP Saleh Ashour stated that the government has absolutely no excuse in rejecting the child and rent allocation increment bills, as the cost of recentlyapproved housing loan increment is larger than the proposed increase to the child and rent allocations. In an attempt to curb the cost of this bill further, Ashour unveiled his plan to submit a proposal amending the KD 75 allocation per child and no cap to KD 75 per child with a maximum of three; meaning a family will receive child allocation only for three children.

The lawmaker explained that in the recent years, statistics has shown the average number of children in a Kuwaiti family is three. He stressed this amendment will also help curb the number of children in a family; thereby, preventing any plan of bringing children into this world for the sake of the financial allocations. Moreover, MP Khaleel Al-Saleh confirmed majority of the Assembly is in agreement on the child and rent allocation increment bills, advising the Assembly to collaborate in such way that will insure approval of this bill. He added the government is well-versed in the fact that the Assembly will not back down from any bill or proposal deemed beneficial to the Kuwaiti public. He urged the government to fix the defects in its structure and start looking into pending files and issues concerning citizens; most importantly, the housing issue.

By: Ahmed Al-Naqeeb Arab Times Staff

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