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200K people unlawfully naturalized, says Ashour

KUWAIT CITY, Aug17: MP Saleh Ashour has accused the government of naturalizing 200,000 people unlawfully, considering the unusual increase in the number of Kuwaitis. Ashour pointed out the statistical reports showed that the Kuwaiti population was 650,000 after the liberation and studies revealed Kuwait has the highest population growth rate — two to three percent. If the average growth is 2.5 percent, then the Kuwaiti population is expected to increase by 16,250 each year, he added.

According to the lawmaker, the population of Kuwait should have been 1.04 million 24 years after the liberation but statistics showed the population now is 1.35 million; which means around 310,000 have been naturalized since then.

He said 60,000 people obtained citizenship under the Kuwaiti wives clause plus 40,000 children of Kuwaiti women married to non-Kuwaitis, Bedouns and those who rendered distinguished while almost 200,000 were naturalized by the government. In this context, Ashour has forwarded questions to Deputy Premier and Interior Minister Sheikh Mohammad Al-Khalid Al-Sabah on the alleged naturalization of undeserving people. He wants to know the legal basis for granting citizenship to about 200,000 people since the liberation until now.

He said the court ordered the formation of a committee to investigate issues related to citizenship after finding a number of employees at Citizenship and Passports Affairs Department guilty of manipulating nationality files. He demanded for updates on the formation of the committee, particularly its decisions and recommendations.

In another development, MP Abdullah Mayouf has asked Kuwait Football Association (KFA) to lay down a clear and comprehensive budget plan. He affirmed the lawmakers will support this plan provided those behind the previous errors will be held accountable. He expressed objection to the allegation made by some people that government support is not enough, indicating no other association receives support similar to that of KFA. He argued the association used to receive financial support amounting to KD120,000 — the budget for one year. “In spite of that, we won tournaments. Today, millions are paid by the political leadership and the government; but we have not witnessed any remarkable achievement. KFA Chairman Talal Al-Fahad has no excuse for the inability to achieve what his predecessors and his father late Martyr Fahad Al-Ahmad have accomplished,” he said.

He also stressed the need for officials, who cannot manage the affairs of the association properly, to abandon their posts to give a chance to those who are more qualified and efficient. Meanwhile, the amendments to Built, Operate and Transfer (BOT) Law Number 7/ 2008 and some provisions of Decree Number 105/1980 on State properties have been published in the Official Gazette. Article 46 of the amended law states the minister of finance must present the executive bylaws within six months from the date of publication.

The explanatory note attached to the law stipulates the need to raise the standard of living of citizens. It also clarified that the law is just part of the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) system and it should not be equated to the latter, which stipulates the implementation of projects through a partnership between the public and private sectors. The legislator said Law Number 7/ 2008 was not in line with professional standards, did not address several key topics on financing projects, and failed to remove obstacles to the implementation process; hence, the need to amend it. He revealed the revised law extended the contract period to 50 years, starting from the date of completion of construction and other related works.

This law also exempts foreign investors from the citizenship requirement stipulated in the Commercial Companies Law, such that conglomerates consisting mostly of foreign institutions will be allowed to establish companies without a local agent. Article 12 of the law stipulates that projects with an estimated cost of KD60 million or less should be executed through the PPP system, while mandating the concerned authorities to coordinate in floating such tenders. Article 16 allows the Cabinet to float tenders worth KD250 million or less instead of establishing a public company for this purpose.

Article 23 allows the investor to use the stipulated financing methods, including mortgage revenue and the shares he owns through the presentation of guarantees to finance the projects. The law prohibits setting lending rate more than the percentage mentioned in the project documentation, while the specified period of implementation must be followed strictly and the project site (land) should not be sold.

By: Abubakar A. Ibrahim month of bloody fighting which erupted on July 8 and has so far Arab Times Staff

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