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Jobs policy debated

State Minister for Economic Affairs Maryam Al-Aqeel

KUWAIT CITY, April 17: State Minister for Economic Affairs Mariam Al-Aqeel presented the job crisis policy of the government and its plan for absorbing educational outputs in the labor market to the National Assembly on Wednesday.

However, several MPs voiced criticism while stressing the need to focus on ensuring professionalism at work and implementing projects which will generate job opportunities and additional income for the country. Several recommendations were also submitted including that of MP Adnaan Abdulsamad who proposed the formation of a specialized committee to look into the issue throughout the summer holiday.

He suggested that the committee should comprise of several concerned committees, but the final vote on this recommendation was postponed until completion of guidelines and regulations on the formation of the committee. MPs believe that low salary is one of the reasons why Kuwaitis shun the private sector. Therefore, they submitted a recommendation for the government to review the salary scale and present a comprehensive report biannually.

Meanwhile, Al-Aqeel affirmed that employee replacements will be put in motion soon; but there is a serious issue regarding education considering no Kuwaiti is qualified for certain scientific positions. In this case, non-Kuwaitis will be hired to fill these positions once the new hospitals and clinics start operating, she revealed. She said 72 percent of employees in the private sector are non-Kuwaitis; while the public sector has 272,383 Kuwaiti workers and 75,053 expatriates – majority of whom are employed in the ministries of Health and Education.

She added 123,679 students are currently registered in the Ministry of Higher Education and the State does not need 3,658 of these students. For this reason, all ministries have been instructed to submit their manpower needs every April; but some governmental bodies do not need additional manpower, the minister explained. In another development, the Assembly also discussed the inflation of MPs’ bank accounts. Some MPs accused the government of being lax in dealing with the issue, while others such as MP Bader Al-Mulla intend to grill Finance Minister Nayef Al-Hajraf in June due to his poor performance particularly in terms of addressing the issue and his action regarding the Money Laundering Law.

On the other hand, Al-Hajraf asserted the government’s concern is not less than that of MPs. “If the person in question is my very brother, I will apply the law on him,” he stated while pointing out that solving the issue necessitates complex procedures. Deliberations on the issue ended with a parliamentary recommendation for the government to submit a report in this regard every six months. In addition, the Assembly was supposed to discuss the fake credentials issue, but MP Khaleel Abul requested for postponement until the Educational Affairs Committee completes its report within two weeks

By Ahmed Al-Naqeeb Arab Times Staff

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