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Saturday , January 23 2021

‘Govt’s performance to suffer as current ministers weak in personality & resolve’

Coming days to witness many interpellations: MP

KUWAIT CITY, Jan 5: MP Al-Humaidhi Al-Subai’e says the government’s performance in the upcoming period will be weak and insignificant because he believes the current ministers are weak in terms of their personality and convictions. He indicated that their undersecretaries might be stronger in this regard.

The lawmaker stressed that the current ministers are unable to take solid decisions, considering the limited time left for the National Assembly, adding that, for this reason, some ministers are being considered for interpellations such as Minister of Education and Higher Education Dr. Saud Al-Harbi and State Minister for Municipal Affairs Waleed Yousef Al-Jassem. He predicted that the coming days will witness the submission of several interpellations, as he is not the only MP who is not enthusiastic about the government’s expected performance. Al-Subai’e revealed that he, on the first day of the new Cabinet formation, had informed His Highness the Prime Minister that the MPs will not wait long for important decisions and tangible progress.

He said, “A book can be read from its title”, implying that not many MPs had high hopes to begin with. Meanwhile, Rapporteur of the Parliament’s Committee for Human Resources Development MP Osama Al-Shaheen said the committee discussed the priorities and work mechanism for the coming phase. He revealed that representatives of the government bodies concerned with Kuwaitization policy such as Civil Service Commission (CSC), Supreme Council for Planning, Public Authority for Manpower and the Manpower and Government Restructuring Program (MGRP) will be requested to attend the upcoming meetings. Al-Shaheen indicated that the committee will discuss 13 draft laws and two proposals related to supporting Kuwaiti employees of the private sector, and will obligate CSC to appoint unemployed citizens within a specified time period, and treat the children of Kuwaiti women like Kuwaitis if there are no Kuwaiti nominees for a vacancy.

He affirmed that the committee will contact the government bodies which have not yet submitted their feedback concerning the parliamentary draft laws. Al-Shaheen insisted that it is time for legislative interference for obligating the government to specify the mandatory percentage of Kuwaiti employees in the private sector, adding that this rate cannot remain linked to the total number of employees from each community, as there is one community which has hit one million, as well as two other communities that hit the same figure.

In another development, Rapporteur of Parliament’s Legal and Legislative Committee MP Mohammad Al-Dallal said the committee declined to lift the parliamentary immunity of MP Riyadh Al-Adsani due to a lawsuit filed against him. Al-Dallal revealed that Al-Adsani was present during the meeting of the committee and he called upon the committee to approve the lifting of his immunity. Al-Dallal said the committee also approved the draft law for providing compensation to the victims of realestate fraud, adding that the committee’s report will be referred to the relevant committee. He said the committee also discussed the proposed amendments to the pharmacists’ law, stressing that these amendments were unanimously approved by the committee, and the committee’s report will be referred to the relevant committee. In this regard, a member of Parliament’s Legal and Legislative Committee MP Ahmad Al-Fadhl revealed in a press release that the amendments to the pharmacists’ law included dealing with cooperative societies the same way as hospitals with capacity of 50 beds and above, which means that they will be allowed to open pharmacies but under one condition i.e. to employ a Kuwaiti pharmacist who obtains the license to run the pharmacy.

He explained that the current law states that the licenses of the pharmacies must be attributed to the cooperative societies under the name of a Kuwaiti Pharmacist. In most cases, the Kuwaiti pharmacist will obtain the license and will then rent the pharmacy to a sub-renter. This means the aim of the law, which is to employ Kuwaiti pharmacists, is not being met. Also, MP Khalid Al-Otaibi praised the government’s request to allocate two hours in a parliamentary session on a monthly basis for discussing important issues related to public works, roads, housing, education, health etc.

He called for adding two hours to the parliamentary session instead of deducting two hours from the session’s regular duration. Al-Otaibi insisted that the allocated time should be specified for discussing all important issues such as the demographic imbalance and traffic jam, instead of limiting it for discussing issues highlighted by the government in accordance to its desire.

Furthermore, MP Ahmad Al-Fadhl submitted a draft law for obligating Ministry of Commerce and Industry and Public Authority for Food and Nutrition to specify new conditions for the companies that supply fruits and vegetables to cooperative societies. The draft law recommends the inclusion of a number of conditions such as providing certificates issued by Public Authority for Food and Nutrition to confirm that the supplied fruits and vegetables are safe. It also recommends obligating the suppliers to pack the fresh produce after washing and cleaning them.

Draft Al-Fadhl submitted another draft law for controlling commodity prices and eliminating monopolization. He suggested preventing cooperative societies from contracting with one exclusive supplier for the supply of food items, electrical sets and electronics if there is more than one company that is capable of supplying the same goods.

Al-Fadhl said Ministry of Commerce and Industry must set in place penalties to be enforced on violators in accordance to the authority given to it by law No. 24/1979 related to cooperative societies. Meanwhile, Head of the Parliament’s Interior and Defense Committee MP Askar Al-Enezi has submitted a draft law for the establishment of a training center for Kuwaiti graduates who are waiting for employment. He explained that this bill is aimed at providing practical training and experience to the graduates in order to prepare them for meeting the demands of the labor market. It also aims at encouraging the private sector companies to hire more Kuwaitis.

The bill suggests granting rewards to the trainees on a monthly basis during the training period until they get jobs. Al-Enezi revealed that the bill also suggests offering loans to citizens who present well-studied projects for enterprises after confirming the feasibility of the projects.

In addition, MP Safa’a Al-Hashem in a press release referred to the announcement about 400 vacancies in Ministry of Education, stressing that these positions will later be filled by expatriates from different countries instead of Kuwaiti citizens and the children of Kuwaiti women whose applications will be rejected. She strongly criticized the decision No. 957/2019 issued by Minister of Interior, describing it as unfair and distorted because it assures privileges for expatriates and deprives citizens. Al-Hashem said, according to the decision, divorced Kuwaiti women who do not have children and unmarried Kuwaiti women over the age of 40 will be deprived of the right to employ a driver and domestic worker without a special approval from Director General of General Department of Residency Affairs. She called upon Minister of Interior to cancel this decision and visit any of the citizen services centers to see the mess and congestion that has resulted from such a decision.

Al-Hashem indicated that all the articles of the decision end with the phrase “unless a permit is issued by Director General of General Department of Residency Affairs”. She said she wondered why such a decision was taken if it requires intervention of the General Department of Residency Affairs, adding that she fears the aim behind this repeated phrase is to humiliate Kuwaiti women by forcing them to stand in long queues in front of that office. Also, Al-Hashem said, “A number of meetings have been held so far including meetings of parliament’s Budgets and Final Accounts Committee and parliament’s Women Affairs Committee. Even though the meeting of the Budgets and Final Accounts Committee was allocated to discuss financial matters concerning Ministry of Higher Education, the most important issue is related to human resources development and creation of a new generation.

After 25 years, Al-Shadadiya University has been partially inaugurated. The educational outputs do not meet the demands of the labor market. Colleges with huge number of graduates who are struggling to find jobs must be closed, and focus should be diverted to extending and developing the required specializations”. Regarding the meeting of the Parliament’s Women Affairs committee, Al-Hashem said she was appointed as the head of the committee during the meeting, MP Al-Humaidhi Al-Subai’e as the rapporteur and MP Mohammad Al-Dallal as the member.

By Ahmed Al-Naqeeb and Saeed Mahmoud Saleh Arab Times Staff

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