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Panel nod to KD 65 child allowance

KUWAIT CITY, March 30: The Cooperative Societies Union (CSU) should not specify the prices of goods as this is tantamount to intrusion in the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, says MP Nabil Al- Fadel.

Al-Fadel made the statement when he presented a draft bill on the non-interference of the union in the functions of the ministry, particularly in specifying the prices of goods. He asserted the third paragraph of Article 29 of law number 24/1979 on cooperative societies and CSU stipulates the right of the union to provide economic, financial or social support to all cooperative societies that belong to it.

He claimed the union took advantage of this right and interfered in the jurisdiction of the ministry when it set the prices of some goods and services as detailed in law number 10/1979 on the supervision of trading goods and setting prices in accordance with revised law number 45/1980 to amend Article 15 of law number 10/1979. He lamented this led to many problems related to the prices of goods and services, wondering why the prices of  goods in several supermarkets are cheaper than those in cooperative societies which are fully supported by the State. He argued the ministry is the competent authority and a decree issued on Jan 7, 1979 mandates it to regulate internal and external aspects of business activities, as well as provide the needs of the State and citizens; while ensuring that goods and services are made available to consumers at reasonable prices. He went on to say his proposal is in line with Article 20 which states the national economy shall be based on social justice since it is founded on fair cooperation between public and private activities; and the goals are economic development, increase of productivity, improvement of the standard of living, and prosperity for all citizens within the limits of the law. He also cited Article 23 which stipulates the State shall encourage cooperative activities and savings, in addition to supervising the credit system.

Role
He suggested the role of cooperative societies, represented by their union, should be limited to serving the members, providing them with goods and services, monitoring problems like the shortage of goods and services or high prices, and presenting proposals to the ministry. He said the ministry will then forward the proposals to the concerned authorities like the Committee for Pricing of Goods and Services in accordance with Article Three of law number 24/1967 and Article Six of law number 10/1979. Furthermore, the Financial and Economic Committee has approved the proposal to increase the children allowance for families with seven children by KD 65 at a total cost of KD 83 million as one-time payment. Rapporteur of the committee MP Mohammed Al- Jabri explained the panel found this has the least cost among all the proposals presented by lawmakers. He said those exempted from the increment are those receiving financial assistance from the Public Institution for Social Security and other government bodies. He added the committee discovered the proposed KD 75 increase for families with five children has the highest cost at KD 127 million. He called on the government to extend a hand of cooperation to push for the approval of the bill, indicating the committee reached this decision because the citizens need the increment to cope with the rising cost of living. He asserted the committee has waited long for the government’s alternative to the proposals but it did not present anything and insisted on rejecting the proposed increment. He revealed the panel has informed the government that it is ready to cooperate and discuss any alternative, but the executive authority has failed to do so; thereby, prompting the committee to approve the KD 65 increment. On a related issue, MP Mansour Al- Dhufairi has called on his colleagues to discuss the report of the Financial and Economic Affairs Committee about the proposed children allowance increment on Tuesday, emphasizing the government has been given enough time to study this proposal. He said the MPs must finalize this issue on Tuesday and not give the government any chance to further delay the process. He added the financial excuse is unacceptable due to the soaring cost of providing for the needs of children

Unemployment
Meanwhile, the Legal and Legislative Committee approved the proposed amendment to law number 101/2013 on the insurance against unemployment and another bill on the establishment of Higher Council for Assessment and Follow-up of Government Performance, while it rejected the proposed amendments to the Cooperative Societies Law. Committee Rapporteur MP Abdul- Kareem Al-Kandari disclosed the proposed revision of the Unemployment Insurance Law aims to cover the legislative shortage in some cases where an employee is forced to resign. He also confirmed approval of the proposal to establish the Higher Council for Assessment and Follow-up of Government Performance. He added the committee rejected five bills on the amendment of Cooperative Societies Law, particularly the revision of the mechanism for voting members of the board of directors of cooperative societies. He revealed the committee also discussed draft bills on controlling weapons and ammunition, as well as criminalizing the possession of knives and sharp objects. He said the committee decided not to take any step until it hears the views of the government on the issue.

In the meantime, Chairman of the Public Utilities Committee MP Adel Al- Kharafi said they approved 90 percent of 28 proposals tackled on Sunday. He revealed the committee postponed deliberations on draft bills concerning the livestock, veterinary authority and animal welfare until the next meeting to invite the concerned officials from Kuwait Municipality, Public Authority for Agriculture Affairs and Fish Resources, Environment Public Authority and Ministry of Health, to listen to their views on these two bills. On the establishment of the National Disaster Center, Al-Kharafi said the committee also agreed to wait for completion of the livestock and animal welfare bills before discussing this proposal.


By: Abubakar A. Ibrahim Arab Times Staff

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