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MP laments money misspent

 KUWAIT CITY, April 2: Kuwait has a huge financial surplus but it is not used properly; hence, HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al- Mubarak should be held accountable for his inability to implement the State policy in this regard, says MP Riyadh Al-Adsani. Al-Adsani made the statement Wednesday when the Parliament deliberated on the queries of MPs about important issues related to the country and its people; such as the development plan, end-of-service (indemnity), leadership posts and equal educational opportunity. He described the Jaber Stadium project as “a model of corruption”, accusing the State Ministry for Youth Affairs of failure to fix the defects prior to the expiration of the bank guarantee.

He pointed out the Contracting Law mandates the contractor to rectify errors for 10 years. He said there are cracks in more than 16 columns of the stadium, while the information minister announced its opening in time for HH the Amir Cup; but no concrete step has been taken even if one year had passed since the announcement. He also cited the delayed implementation of Shadadiya University, Mubarak Port, Mishref Sewerage Station and Al-Zour Power Plant projects for several years due to government mismanagement.

On the other hand, MP Khalil Al- Abdullah said there is no planning in the country and the current government cannot distinguish its work program from its development plan. He said the appointment or renewal for leadership posts in Kuwait is based on favoritism and loyalty, without criteria or standards. MP Adel Jarallah expressed displeasure over the way Minister of Public Works Abdulaziz Al-Ibrahim handled his question about a retired employee who signed some transactions in the ministry. He asserted this is a violation of the law, yet the minister has remained silent and refused to respond to the question; “which means he is hiding something.” MP Saleh Ashour criticized the lack of clear policy in the government, adding “there is discrepancy between workers in government agencies in terms of indemnity. We are suffering due to favoritism and non-compliance with laws”. He said workers in some government sectors enjoy end-of-service benefits but others do not. He asked, “Do you accept this situation in a State with a constitution and laws?” He disclosed he had asked the former finance minister about this issue but the latter said it is not within his jurisdiction, although he is responsible for the Civil Service Commission as per the Prime Minister’s decision number 3/2013.

MP Adnan Abdulsamad also complained about the failure of former Education and Higher Education Minister Dr Nayef Al-Hajraf to respond to his question on the compulsory education for Bedouns, who have been deprived of the right to primary and advanced education in the university. He said the Charity Fund for Education does not serve its purpose, because Bedouns still bear the cost of their education in spite of the allocation of KD4 million for this fund. On the non-admission of Bedouns at Kuwait University, Abdulsamad admitted he is disappointed that Bedouns are not allowed to enroll in the university even if they obtain a grade of 99 percent; yet others with a grade of 75 percent are accepted. He clarified he was referring to Bedouns who have stayed in this country for 60 years but are still deprived of their rights. Meanwhile, during the discussion on international agreements between the State of Kuwait and other countries; MP Riyadh Al-Adsani voiced objection to the Kuwait-Jordan agreement to prevent dual-taxation. He argued this agreement cannot be merged with others, so he requested for its removal from the agenda and the Parliament approved.

On the International Monetary Fund agreement, MP Ali Al-Rashed warned this might lead to constitutional problems, considering the government spent KD 9 billion on it due to a memo issued by Kuwait Investment Authority that approval of the Assembly is not required. He added the agreement, if passed, will contravene Article 70 of the Constitution. Agreeing with his colleague, Abdulsamad said Article 70 clearly states that any agreement or treaty related to expenditures of the government will be implemented only through the issuance of a law. He underscored the need to hold responsible all those behind the memo. Ashour also saw the need to hold the government responsible for this violation. He asserted it is unacceptable for the government to spend KD9 billion without the assembly’s approval. He then requested for postponement of voting on the agreement until everything is clear.

Some MPs wanted to reject the agreement, but since the majority considers it highly important; the Assembly decided to postpone voting for one month - until the government submits its report on the issue. Furthermore, a number of MPs submitted a request for the Financial Committee to present its report on the amendments to the Capital Market Authority Bill within two weeks. However, the minister or finance said the government cannot do it within the aforementioned period as it is currently dealing with numerous bills. This caused dissatisfaction among the MPs, who asked the government why it keeps on procrastinating when it comes to the amendment of the bill. They voiced their concerns and pointed out violations within the authority which must be addressed. Despite the disagreement of the government, the Parliament went ahead in approving the request.

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

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