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MP wants ministerial reshuffle to address pending issues Panel OKs draft bills on foreign agreements

KUWAIT CITY, July 21: The parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee has approved draft bills on several foreign agreements; including the Protocol on Preferential Tariff Scheme for Trade Preferential System-Organization of Islamic Conference, Convention on the Rules of Origin of the Trade Preferential System among Member States of the Organization of Islamic Conference, and agreement between Kuwait and the GCC Emergency Management Center, says Committee Chairman MP Kamel Al-Awadhi. In a press statement after the panel meeting Monday, Al-Awadhi disclosed they also approved bills on the agreements between Kuwait, Iraq, Tanzania and Kenya; as well as that between Kuwait and Kenya for the avoidance of double taxation and prevention of tax evasion. 
Meanwhile, MP Abdul-Rahman Al-Jeeran stressed the need to strictly implement the laws and punish those proven to have manipulated projects like the Al-Shadadiya University. He believes this step will eliminate corruption and deter others from engaging in corrupt activities.  He also called for ministerial reshuffle to guarantee the appointment of ministers with the ability to address pending issues after removing remnants of the previous era, such that everyone starts with a clean slate for the nation to actualize its development objectives. On national security and stability, the lawmaker affirmed Kuwait is safe and there is no external or internal threat; but everyone must be wary of those trying to deceive them by spreading certain political or sectarian ideologies. 
On another issue, Al-Awadhi emphasized the importance of using an iron fist in dealing with those behind the delayed establishment of the hospital for retirees. He argued there are about 100,000 retired citizens who served their country for several years; hence, the need to construct a hospital for them. He pointed out the minister of finance has attributed the delay to certain hindrances but he did not provide details. He then urged the minister to clarify the issue and hold accountable all those behind the delay. 
Al-Awadhi revealed the minister shed light on the extent of negligence in terms of executing this project which started in 2010 when the Municipality Council approved the request of the Public Institution of Social Security (PISS) for land measuring one million square meters to establish the medical city. After taking the decision, it was discovered that the land overlaps with one which belongs to the Ministry of Defense.
Two years later, the ministry issued a report on the need to move the medical city land away from its property by at least two kilometers. This has prompted PISS to request for a replacement which was approved six months later but the size is smaller — 860 square meters. The land was handed over two months later so the minister wondered why it took years to take one simple step, Al-Awadhi added. 
The lawmaker then appealed to PISS and every government institution in charge of implementing the project to quickly address the issue. He alleged the executive authority has neglected the needs of retirees so the legislature prioritized the approval of the Health Insurance Law for Retirees. He said the State is now forced to spend more money on the implementation of this law due to the delayed construction of the hospital. He added the money allocated for building the hospital did not come from donors as it was collected from the retirees during their working years.
By Abubakar A. Ibrahim and Ahmed Al-Naqeeb 
Arab Times Staff

By: Abubakar A. Ibrahim and Ahmed Al-Naqeeb

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