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Panel discusses CB budget MP calls for use of HACCP system

KUWAIT CITY, May 28: MP Mohammed Al-Huwailah has proposed using the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) system to ensure food safety, because it is accepted by international bodies and prevents errors. In his proposal, Al-Huwailah called for the establishment of food testing laboratories at the borders and to train national manpower in the field of food safety.

He pointed out not a day passes by without news on the joint operations conducted by Kuwait Municipality and the Ministry of Commerce leading to the confiscation of tons of spoilt food items that are hazardous to people’s health. He stressed the need to use modern system and equipment for testing imported food items, guarantee the effectiveness of regulatory methods and judicial arrest, continuous inspection of food warehouses, and strict application of the law on everyone.

In another story, head of Budget and Final Accounts Committee MP Adnan Abdulsamad disclosed the panel discussed the 2014/2015 budget and final account of the Central Bank (CB) of Kuwait Wednesday. He said the expected expenditure for fiscal 2014/2015 was KD 61.777 million, but the actual expenses reached KD 97.607 million.

He added the committee also looked into the Central Bank’s projects; including its new headquarters which is currently under construction and will be operational by the first quarter of 2015. He said the budget allocated for this project, including furniture and other finishing touches, was KD 26.9 million; but the total expenditure increased from KD38 million to KD125 million within seven years, in addition to KD 30.5 million for furniture. On the new Kuwaiti banknotes, Abdulsamad mentioned that in the budget report for fiscal 2013/2014, the Central Bank’s expenditure was KD 5.544 million - 65 percent for the issuance of new banknotes and 35 percent for the continuity of the current banknotes, despite the existence of a reserve fund amounting to KD 957 million solely for this purpose. He said the committee had to point out that the Central Bank should have decreased the issuance of current banknotes when the decision to issue new banknotes was taken to minimize expenditures.

According to the Central Bank, results of numerous discussions and studies led to the decision to issue new bank notes for a number of reasons; such as security because the new banknotes are on par with international standards.

The bank explained the current banknotes have been in circulation for over 20 years, while the internationally-accepted banknotes must be changed every seven years; hence, the decision on the sixth issue of Kuwaiti banknotes. Moreover, further discussions revealed there are 142 unoccupied positions for Kuwaitis in the Central Bank and these vacant posts must be filled within this year, considering a large number of Kuwaitis are unemployed. The committee then urged the Central Bank to intensify its efforts in human resources, training and development of the workforce. On the other hand, member of the Educational Affairs Committee MPAwda Al-Ruweie said they discussed several bills, one of which is the proposed audiovisual educational; as well as the opinion of the government on these proposals. In a press statement, the MP revealed the panel tackled the issues related to the Ministry of Higher Education’s practice to accredit certificates only to withdraw some of them later due to alleged lack of recognized systematic studies.

The discussion revolved around finding solutions to this issue which has been stressing students academically and mentally for around five years. Al-Ruweie added the committee also discussed the Ministry of Education’s way of dealing with parliamentary queries on the issue as it does not respond at all. The committee asked the ministry to stop wasting time and address the issue immediately.

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

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