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Sunday , November 27 2022

‘Housing issue being used to push for approval of … Public Debt Law’

This post has been read 11897 times!

KUWAIT CITY, May 12: The financial crisis that Kuwait is suffering from due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the decline in oil prices is approaching a limit that the most pessimistic experts did not expect from a country that is known for its wealth and the prosperity of its society, reports Al-Qabas daily. The crisis in the country excludes the scenario of withdrawing from the future generation fund and the inability to pay the salaries of employees. As per what the government announced previously, the crisis extended to the government’s inability to finance projects that affect the stability and security of the nation. Taking the housing issue for instance, the parliament’s Housing Affairs Committee said it had received a notification from the government stating that it was unable to finance the South Sabah Al-Ahmad and South Saad Al-Abdullah housing projects due to the budget deficit, which threatens all of the housing projects in the country. The public debt bill appeared from the window for financing housing projects, as it is a solution that the government wants to resort to in order to cover the deficit.

This bill has always been a controversial matter in the parliament, as it was inherited from the previous parliament. The MPs have warned that the government’s talk about its inability to release funds to finance the aforementioned housing project is “an entry point for imposing the public debt law, which was rejected by parliament”. MP Saleh Al-Mutairi revealed that the Ministry of Finance and the Kuwait Investment Authority have informed the parliament’s Housing Affairs Committee that there are no financial allocations for South Sabah Al-Ahmad and South Saad Al-Abdullah projects due to which applications cannot be allocated to citizens on the waiting list.

He said, “We were surprised that the Ministry of Finance did not complete the financial allocations, as if it was telling us that the budget deficit exists. It is clear that this aspect is being pushed by talking about the need of imposing a public debt law.” Al-Mutairi went on to say, “People were hoping for good in terms of a speedy allotment after the long talk about watering down obstacles in the South Saad Al-Abdullah project. In the end, the government’s response came in this manner, which is strange because the duty of the Ministry of Finance is to set an adequate budget for these projects, not to come to us without a solution. This is a disaster for those who applied for such plots and for the people of Kuwait in general.”

Al-Mutairi expressed his astonishment at “the declared position of the Ministry of Finance, which said there are no financial funds because this is not true. These are projects that were supposed to have priority, instead of leaving Kuwaiti families to search for housing without a solution. The lack of readiness of the government is the best evidence of the failure of the Minister of Finance and the Prime Minister.” He indicated that the Ministry of Finance informed the Public Authority for Housing Welfare (PAHW) about the lack of funds for these areas under the pretext of deficit in the budget, indicating that this is “an excuse worse than a sin.

What is worse is that the Ministry of Finance, whose minister was absent from the important meeting, did not provide solutions to this impasse”. Al-Mutairi declared the determination of the parliament’s Housing Affairs Committee to “request a special session before Eid al-Adha in order to discuss this matter”. He said, “The officials are required to own up to their responsibilities so that the people know who is behind the delay in the long-awaited projects” Al-Mutairi warned against “using the housing issue as a way to pass the Public Debt Law that the government wants. At a rate of KD 5 billion for a period of five years, it is unacceptable”.

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