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Parliament approves BOT, indemnity bills

KUWAIT CITY, June 30: The Parliament approved the Build- Operate-Transfer (BOT) and indemnity bills in their second reading during the special session on Monday. This came after the legislature endorsed the Financial and Economic Affairs Committee’s report of on the proposed amendments to BOT Law number 7/2008 and State Properties Law number 105/1980. A total of 28 members voted in favor of the bill, 18 against and two abstained.

According to Committee Chairman MP Faisal Al-Shaya, the panel finalized its report on the proposed amendments to the BOT Law and agreed to change it to Public-Private Partnership (PPP) to be more comprehensive. He explained this entails transfer of the technical body tasked to study the development projects to the public body affiliated to the Ministry of Finance.

He disclosed this body will play a substantial role in the establishment of companies, preparation of legal drafts of partnership contracts and terms of reference, laying down a mechanism to present projects, evaluation and floating of tenders. He also stressed the need to include infrastructure in the projects that will be implemented through PPP system, since they require huge financing, technical work, advanced technological expertise and global technical specialist which the domestic market may not be able to provide on its own. He explained the revised law removes the value of land from the total cost due to the high prices, especially since the land will be returned to the State so the payment is only for the usage of land throughout the duration of the contract.

He added the new law increased the number of years for using State properties to 50 years maximum instead of 40 years; such that the period is calculated from the date of completion of construction and processing works. He pointed out the status of existing projects will be checked before continuing the implementation as per the texts on expiration date as the law allows the extension of old contracts or expired licenses for a period not exceeding one year to pave the way for floating the project again in case the higher committee decides to do so.

He went on to say the law also deals with issues of funding — the cornerstone of PPP projects, by allowing the investor to establish protection for funding agencies, as well as the mortgaged assets he owned in the project and his shares in the company in charge of the project but only for the benefit of the project. He revealed the law has a unique feature as it stipulates the establishment of joint stock companies for the implementation of PPP projects. He asserted this will give the citizens an opportunity to be partners in the execution of the projects and guarantee fair distribution of income. He confirmed 50 percent of the shares of these companies will be open for public bidding for Kuwaitis wherein the State will subscribe to these shares on behalf of the citizens.

Meanwhile, the Parliament also approved the report of the Human Resources Development Committee on the indemnity of Kuwaiti employees in the private and public sectors with 52 votes in favor and one abstention.

The bill is aimed at easing the financial burdens of citizens, improve their living condition and ensure a better life for them even after retirement. It includes a stipulation on the indemnity of civilian and military personnel covered by the social security, pension and military retirement bonus laws.

According to the bill, the indemnity will be paid from the funds of the institutions or companies as per the Social Security Law; in addition to 2.5 percent deduction from salaries, five percent from the State coffers and revenues from social security investments. Moreover, newly-elected MPs Ahmed Lari, Ahmed Al-Qudaibi, Abdullah Al-Mayouf, Faris Al-Otaibi and Mohammed Barrak Al- Rashidi took their oath in accordance with Article 91 of the Constitution.

This was followed by the election of MPs to fill vacancies in various parliamentary committees as follows:

Permanent Committees:

■ Financial and Economic Affairs Committee: MP Ahmed Lari

■ Legal and Legislative Affairs Committee: MP Mohammed Al-Barrak Al-Rashidi

■ Health and Labor Affairs Committee: MP Abdullah Al-Mayouf

■ Foreign Affairs Committee: MP Madhi Al- Hajiri

■ Budget and Final Account Committee: Ahmed Al-Qudaibi Temporary Committees:

■ Bedouns Committee: MP Abdullah Al- Mayouf

■ Handicapped Affairs Committee: MP Khalil Abdullah

■ Committee Investigating Financial Transfers and Multimillion deposits: Mohammed Al- Barrak Al-Shemiri

■ Human Resources Development Committee: MPs Ahmed Lari and Faris Al-Otaibi

■ Negative Phenomenon Committee: MP Abdul-Hameed Dashti

■Women and Family Affairs Committee: MPs Yakoub Al-Sanei and Ouda Al-Ruweie

■ Human Rights Committee: Abdullah Al- Mayouf

■ Response to the Amiri Address Committee: MP Abdullah Al-Turaiji

By: Abubakar A. Ibrahim Arab Times Staff

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