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FM faces query on entry visas Panel tackles KOTC budget for ’14/’15 fiscal year

KUWAIT CITY, June 9:  MP Yakoub Al-Sanei has presented questions to First Deputy Premier and Foreign Affairs Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khalid on the principle of reciprocity in granting entry visa to some countries.

He said Article One of the Kuwaiti Constitution which stipulates that Kuwait is an independent Arab State with full sovereignty; hence, the State is keen on taking into account the interests of its citizens at home and those staying abroad.

Therefore, its citizens should be treated appropriately in a foreign country considering the political status and economic weight of Kuwait in order to protect the dignity and humanity of its people, its prestige and sovereignty.

He pointed out the most important matter to be taken into consideration is the fact that citizens of some countries are allowed to enter Kuwait without a visa even if these countries require Kuwaitis to obtain visas to enter their territories. He wants to know if the principle of reciprocity is applicable to all countries in terms of granting visa-free entry to Kuwaitis.

He asked if the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is closely following up the issue to ensure the application of the principle whenever Kuwaitis enter these countries. He wants to know the steps taken by the ministry to protect the dignity of Kuwaitis traveling to other countries and to request for visa-free entry.

In another development The parliamentary Budget and Final Accounts Committee discussed Monday the proposed budget of Kuwait Oil Tankers Company (KOTC) for fiscal 2014/2015. Committee Chairman Adnan Abdulsamad disclosed that the projected operational revenue is KD67.9 million while the projected operational expenditure is KD146.5 million with an estimated operational deficit of KD78.6 million.

He said the committee talked about a number of issues, such as ways to improve operations, increase the Kuwaiti manpower, rising expenditures on the new tankers in previous years, reduced operational revenues from the tankers as a result of decline in the prices for leasing tankers as per the global prices, and augmenting the company’s operational capability within fiscal 2014/2015 due to inclusion of seven new tankers in the company’s fleet. He revealed the panel also tackled the projected Kuwaiti operational jobs in the company’s budget for fiscal 2014/2015 with 604 jobs compared to 561 jobs in fiscal 2013/2014 - an increase of 43 jobs. He said there are 74 vacancies which must be filled within fiscal 2014/2015 and the committee had requested for expediting procedures in this regard to provide jobs to Kuwaiti youths.

The meeting also focused on declining revenues of the marine agency despite the large number of tankers docking at Kuwaiti seaports due to hike in service fees and low quality, prompting the tankers to avail services at the ports of other countries. Abdulsamad went on to say the company has formed a committee to study the pitfalls and failures in order to provide the best services at lower cost to attract tankers to Kuwait’s ports.

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

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