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MP wants govt to implement its decision, retire officials with 35 yrs of service ‘Probe KIA losses or face grilling’

KUWAIT CITY, Feb 2: The government is biased in almost every decision it takes as manifested in the implementation of the compulsory retirement policy, says MP Yousef Al- Zalzala. Al-Zalzala pointed out that when the government issued a directive on the retirement of all government officials who have been in service for 35 years without exception but the actual implementation covered only some of these officials. He claimed ‘wasta’ (influence) was factored into this decision, whether with the excluded officials by insuring and maintaining their positions or the retired officials who must vacate positions to be filled by allies.

Angered by this incident, the MP asked the government to implement its decision and retire all officials with 35 years of service without exception before it loses its credibility. In another development, Minister of Public Works, Electricity and Water Abdulaziz Al-Ibrahim requested for a number of clarifications on some points in the interpellation request submitted by MP Adel Al-Kharafi in order to prepare a more comprehensive response.

The minister said the interpellation contained points that are vague and lack detail, such as those on the reports submitted by the State Audit Bureau. He asked the MP to underline the report that concerns him. He also questioned the point where the MP mentioned the failure of the Ministry of Public Works to execute major projects, leading to the misusage of public funds. He disclosed the MP did not mention which project he was referring to, and he did not specify the incident which he claimed to have led to misusage of public funds; hence, the need for clarification.

Meanwhile, member of the Financial Committee MP Safa Al-Hashem revealed the proposed establishment of the National Institute for Consumer Protection was discussed Sunday in the presence of Commerce and Industry Minister Abdulmohsen Al- Madaj, who requested for more time to review the bill. During the meeting, Al-Hashem questioned the minister on the functions of the assistant undersecretary; indicating the Consumer Protection Department at the ministry has 2,000 Kuwaiti employees. He wondered how such a large number of employees failed to prevent the yearly price hikes. She called on the minister to improve the situation in the department, specifically the excessive number of workers and the lack of productivity. In the meantime, MP Riyadh Al- Adsani has threatened to submit a grilling request against Minister of Finance Anas Al-Saleh if he does not investigate the enormous losses incurred by Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA) and Al-Zour Plant.

He added that in case the minister forms an investigative committee but does not take its reports into consideration in his decisions, he will still submit the grilling request. He also wants to know the reason behind KIA’s decision to fire two Kuwaiti employees with over 10 years of experience and replaced them with two foreigners who have no experience, describing the decision as illogical. Furthermore, the MP revealed the KIA is continuously investing in fields that only results in losses. He cited as an example the nuclear energy investments of Kuwait in spite of the decline in the sector due to the recent incident at a nuclear plant in Japan. Regarding the investments in London, the MP admitted he is confused about the alleged losses in the sale of real estate properties; considering the basic investment principles do not encourage such a move unless it results in profits. About the Al-Zour power plant issue, the MP said there are numerous violations in the execution; most obvious of which is granting the project to a company not listed on the stock market.

He urged the minister to closely monitor these issues, especially since they are related to major projects deemed beneficial to the people. Additionally, MP Kamel Al-Awadhi submitted a draft bill on amending Social Insurance Law number 9/2011 to increase the maximum retirement salary from KD 1,125 to KD 1,500. He explained this is due to the importance of reviewing all financial allocations for citizens to help them cope with the rising cost of living. Also, MP Nabeel Al-Fadel proposed amendment of the Election Law to increase the number of constituencies from five to 50. He said the population in each of these 50 constituencies will elect one MP. The lawmaker attached the list of 50 constituencies and the areas they represent to his proposal which, he believes, will make every MP the real representative of his constituency once it is implemented.

By: Ahmed Al-Naqeeb Arab Times Staff

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