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Govt, Assembly friction lingers

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Session adjourned; meet again on Tuesday

KUWAIT CITY, Jan 23: National Assembly Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanim adjourned the special session on Sunday due to the absence of the government, which led to lack of quorum. The government cited lack of coordination with the Assembly as the reason behind their absence. Al-Ghanim then invited the MPs and government to the special session on Tuesday as per the proposal of several MPs.

This is for the discussion of the report of the Housing Affairs Committee on the proposal to amend the law on establishing Kuwait Credit Bank (KCB) number 30/1965, particularly the first paragraph of Article Six. On the other hand, MP Hamdan Al-Azmi commented on the absence of the government; which means it is not serious about ratifying the bill on expanding the authority of the court to decide on cases related to citizenship.

He went on to say that the government has adopted the same strategy towards this bill for years, because it wants to keep on using the Kuwaiti citizenship issue as a political weapon for blackmailing politicians. He cited the case of Ahmed Al-Jabr who struggled for eight years to restore his withdrawn nationality and he could not do so until now. He asserted the government is not ready to cooperate with the Assembly, indicating the latter will attend the session on Tuesday not to show cooperation with the executive authority; but to give temporary solution aimed at passing through the no-confidence motion. He said the government links its cooperation with the legislative authority’s approval of the Public Loan Bill.

In another development, Speaker Al-Ghanim confirmed receiving the response of the Ministry of Health on the proposal to allocate a room for the MPs infected with Coronavirus; so they can participate in the discussion and voting on bills. He explained the ministry did not approve the request, because of concerns on spreading the virus; considering that the room has no good ventilation and the proximity of seats. He said the ministry pointed out that the proposal does not guarantee preventing interaction between the infected MPs, employees and other individuals who will be exposed to infection.

Meanwhile, the Housing Affairs Committee on Sunday met with Minister of Finance and Minister of State for Economic Affairs and Investment Abdulwahab Al-Rashid and representatives of Kuwait Credit Bank (KCB) and Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED). Committee Chairman MP Fayez Al-Jomhour disclosed that they discussed the bill on increasing the capital of KCB. He pointed out the government will help push for the ratification of the bill, in addition to the commitment of the government to implement certain measures to increase the cash of the bank.

In addition, the Health, Social and Labor Affairs Committee on Sunday discussed with representatives of the Ministry of Health and Public Authority for Handicapped Affairs (PAHA) the proposal to amend the second article of the relevant law in order to include Kuwaiti women taking care of non-Kuwaiti children to the beneficiaries of allowances and other privileges like pension. Committee Chairman MP Saleh Zeib Al-Mutairi confirmed that an agreement has been reached for the government to provide prosthetic devices for individuals with medium and severe disabilities or grant them cash instead.

He added it was also agreed to compensate the owners of nurseries for the losses they incurred due to the Covid-19 crisis. Furthermore, MP Hesham Al-Saleh submitted a proposal for Civil Service Commission (CSC) to open a register for retirees willing to work as consultants under the wage system. He specified a number of conditions as follows: age of the applicant should not exceed 65 years old and will work until he reaches 70 years old. The amount of wage ranges from KD1,000 to KD3,000 per month. The hired retirees will be allowed to combine their pension with the wages.

Also, MP Osama Al-Menawer forwarded queries to Minister of State for Municipal, Communications and Technology Affairs Rana Al-Fares. He said the final accounts of the Ministry of Communications for fiscal 2020/2021 showed that the revenues are 47 percent lower than the estimated amount. He wants to know why the ministry did not submit its final account to the Financial Control Bureau (FCB) for approval, reason behind the slow implementation of development projects (only seven percent) even if the Ministry of Finance already provided the budget for these projects, steps taken against the companies occupying properties owned by the ministry without paying rent, and steps taken to collect KD1.4 million as payment for debts despite the issuance of a court decision four years ago. By Saeed Mahmoud Saleh Arab Times Staff

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