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Govt ‘indifference’ to gravel crisis slammed ‘Prevent hoarding by traders’

KUWAIT CITY, June 8: State Minister for Housing Affairs Yasser Abul is expected to hold a meeting with the Minister of Commerce Dr Abdulmohsen Al- Med’ej regarding recent rumors circulating on Al-Fujaira Emirate’s intention to suspend export of gravel to the GCC countries, including Kuwait. Parliamentary sources said a clear message was sent for the government to intensify its surveillance on the borders to control suspicious operations on cement and iron rod export

It also called for the investigation of specific authorities trying to create confusion in Kuwait’s market due to their actions that may lead to increase in the prices of building materials to destroy the essence of raising housing loan, as the step will only benefit the traders.

They emphasized that studies on several legislative and surveillance options are underway to deal with the issue. For his part, MP Saadoun Hammad revealed the intention to modify some articles of law 47/1993 regarding housing care which allows citizens choose between receiving KD 30,000 housing loan increment in cash or subsidized materials, as per recent law passed by the parliament in this domain.

He affirmed that the current law did not achieve its goal, given that the citizens have fallen under the mercy of traders who disregard their situations. In a press statement, MP Hammad said he had spoken with some lawmakers who agreed on the idea of granting citizens the right to go for cash or subsidized building materials to protect them against monopoly.

Meanwhile, Head of Housing Committee MP Faisal Al-Kandari disclosed that the issue of importing building materials from neighboring countries has become sensitive, particularly with recent information indicating Al-Fujaira, United Arab Emirates, may suspend the export of gravel to cover the development projects.

Also, MP Adel Al- Khorafi warned of imminent crisis between the executive and the legislative authorities in case the government is unable to secure enough quantities of gravel and other constructional materials for the local market needs, stressing the current housing loan is useless unless the building materials are available.

On the other hand, MP Mubarak Al-Harees has criticized government’s indifference in dealing with information related to the suspension of gravel export by Al-Fujaira Emirate, regardless of the country’s preparation to execute mammoth developmental projects that require massive quantities of construction materials. He called for the government to seek alternative sources to deal with the situation before the nation falls into crisis.

He urged Ministry of Commerce to intensify its inspection procedures to control stockpiling by some traders who aim to monopolize gravel and other constructional materials to increase their prices later on. He also asked for easing the procedures of importing gravel from other countries to meet the needs of the local market.

By: Raed Yousef, Ayed Al-Enezi and Nasser Qaheed Al-Seyassah Staff

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