KUWAIT CITY, April 3: His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah on Sunday advised leading legislators to seek to bolster cooperation between the legislative and executive authorities.
His Highness the Amir, during his reception of the lawmakers, advised them to exert greater efforts and work hard for realizing citizens’ aspirations and ambitions in a fasion that will contribute to beefing up development, through co-operation between the legislative and executive authorities.
His Highness the Amir gave the guidelines during a reception, at Seif Palace, for the National Assembly Speaker Marzouq Ali Al-Ghanim and Chairman of the committee tasked with reply to the Amiri Speech, MP Dr. Odah Al- Rowaiee, and the committee members MP Abdullah Al- Maayouf, Humoud Al-Hamdan and Dr. Abdullah Al-Traiji.
They submitted to His Highness the Amir a report about the commission response to the Amiri Address for the fourth session of the 14th legislative term. For his turn, the Parliament Speaker Al-Ghanim assured His Highness that he and his colleagues in the Parliament would adhere to his guidelines for welfare of the citizens and the homeland.
Meanwhile, the parliamentary Financial and Economic Affairs Committee has given Minister of Electricity and Water Ahmad Al-Jassar until Wednesday to present the government’s opinion on the proposed fees for electricity and water based on consumption.
Committee Chairman MP Faisal Al-Shaye disclosed the panel has suggested fees for private houses that are different from those proposed by the government in order to avoid harming the low and middle income earners. He said the government’s statistical report showed that the average consumption of citizens residing in houses granted by the government is estimated at 6,000 kilowatts while the average consumption per residential unit is below 10,000 kilowatts.
In all cases, consumption exceeds the actual need by about 30 percent, he added. He went on to say the fees proposed by the panel are as follows: two fils per kilowatt for those consuming 6,000 kilowatts or below; while those with consumption of more than 6,000 will pay five fils per kilowatt.
He revealed those with consumption exceeding 12,000 kilowatts shall pay more. In a related development, MP Kamel Al-Awadhi criticized the fees that Al- Jassar announced earlier, asserting these fees are four times higher than the current ones. He lamented these exorbitant fees, once implemented, might lead to hike in the prices of commodities and rents.
He argued these fees contradict the rationalization policy and the agreement on economic reforms which should not affect the pockets of citizens as per the directive of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. He accused the government of unwillingness to look for innovative solutions to the current economic crisis which hit the whole world, as it has opted for conventional and unstudied steps that are deemed harmful to citizens.
He claimed the government has chosen the difficult and rough road for citizens although there are easy ways to address the issue. He pointed out the State must use public funds for real development through the establishment of factories, support for the agricultural sector, tourism and small enterprises.
This is in addition to imposing fair taxes on companies and increasing taxes on luxury items, he said. He added if the government wants to implement genuine economic reforms, it should begin with the owners of chalets, farms and industrial areas leased to a number of citizens at a bargain price but then they rent out to others at thousands of Kuwaiti dinars.
Furthermore, MP Ahmed Al-Mutei Al-Azmi stressed it is unacceptable to increase fees for electricity and water four times the current charges, indicating the government’s solution to the deficit should not be at the expense of citizens. He affirmed that he will stand with his colleagues in rejecting the fees proposed by the government.
By Abubakar A. Ibrahim Arab Times Staff and Agencies