Wednesday , December 13 2017

Compensation eyed over fuel price hike – ‘Last chance to avoid clash’

KUWAIT CITY, Oct 1: Few days prior to a joint executive-legislative meeting scheduled to be held on Wednesday for discussing palliative measures to relieve citizens from effects of the fuel price hike, the government has reportedly been considering the need to present some mechanisms for compensating citizens as “the last chance to avoid clash”, informed sources say.

They revealed that the National Assembly Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanim has been coordinating with some government personalities regarding the issue so that a compromise can be reached to avoid clash.

The sources stressed that the government will present to the lawmakers some options out of which the one they consider as the best will be chosen to quench the burning fire, adding that Al- Ghanim will announce the acceptable solution which the parties agree upon after the meeting based on exhaustively studied mechanism with logic.

They stated the parties will bear in mind the need for coordination between both authorities before the government takes decisions affecting subsidies for citizens.

The sources revealed that the lawmakers mandated Al-Ghanim to urge the political leadership during the protocol meetings concerning the need to exempt Kuwaitis from the increased fuel prices.

They said it was decided during the meetings held in Al-Ghanim’s office after his return from a trip overseas that the Wednesday meeting should end in a practicable solution to relieve the pressure that the parliament is facing.

The sources explained that the indications are highly leaning towards compensating citizens appropriately to cover the rate of fuel price hike and the details will be revealed during the meeting. The possibilities include granting KD15 per month to Kuwaitis with drivers’ license or increasing the inflation allowance from KD 120 to KD 150.

The third option is to use civil ID card when buying fuel to attain financial compensation. Parliamentary sources warn on pushing ahead with the session of the Legislative and the Executive Authorities next Wednesday, adding the meeting will not yield any position outcome—just like the session held last August to discuss the fuel price increase, which ended with a promise from Government to study the proposals presented by lawmakers to compensate citizens on the implementation of the decision and without disclosing results of studies in that regard.

They added the MPs are worried about repetition of the same scenario in the upcoming session, which could lead many MPs to boycott the meeting. They noted the MPs negative response to the expected meeting became visible following MP Saleh Ashour’s announcement to boycott the session and his request for other MPs to boycott it.

The same sources noted MP Ashour has asked other lawmakers to insist on holding the emergency session, and that MP Muhammad Tana supports the step adopted by MP Ashour with the collection of signatures.

However, the latter is opposed to dissolution of the incumbent Parliament before completion of its tenure. They pointed out that a number of MPs last Thursday presented a draft law to reform Article 2 of the law issued to increase the prices of fuel, while preventing the government from raising the prices of commodities or services before consulting the National Assembly.

They stressed that the majority of MPs declined any discussion on the study conducted regarding the proposal to compensate citizens, as well as the removal of subsidy before implementation of the decision to raise fuel price. Sources pointed out that MP Saleh Ashour stresses the importance of holding an emergency session, noting the MPs are not obliged to attend the coming session as per a statement issued by the Spokesperson of the Parliament Marzouq Al-Ghanem.

For his part, MP Saleh Ashour said such meetings are informal and the government can not be obliged to enforce decisions emerging from them.

Also, MP Muhammad Tana said the issue of dissolving the Parliament is still early and a step can not be taken in that regard without the Government submitting a letter to the political leadership. He called for making the Parliamentary session public, in the presence of the MPs and members of Government, in order to give the people a chance to follow details of the discussion.

By Raed Yousef Al-Seyassah Staff

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