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KD 3.6 mln spent to confront pandemic: MoCI

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Pharmaceutical factory in Sabhan ‘soon’

KUWAIT CITY, April 25: The Minister of Commerce and Industry (MoCI), Dr. Abdullah Al-Salman said the ministry until mid-February 2021 has spent 3.6 million dinars to confront and contain the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, reports Al-Anba daily. In response to a parliamentary query submitted by MP Abdullah Al-Mudhaf, a copy of which has been obtained by the daily, Al-Salman said the ministry spent 3.5 million dinars in the form of subsidy for face masks provided by the Kuwait Supply Company and the money was disbursed from the ministry’s approved budget – an item related to the cost of living. He added the actual ministry expenditures included, 30,000 dinars, the value of a contract with the Kuwait Aviation Services Company (KASCO) to provide buffet services, food and drinks to the work teams during the curfew period.

He added, 22,500 dinars was spent on another contract with Tamouh Joint General Trading and Contracting Company to supply 189 wireless devices, to control and protect the consumer during the curfew period to ensure the availability of foodstuffs and not to increase their prices, and the need for senior officials and supervisors in the ministry to continuously communicate between them and the inspectors of commercial control sector to ensure the proper functioning of the work. He pointed out the approvals were not taken from the supervisory authorities for the two contracts mentioned above, as what was mentioned in the Circular (No. 2 of 2017), concerning the procurement systems for public entities (if the contract value is less than 75,000 dinars and the presentation is made to the Ministry’s procurement committee).

In other news the Executive Vice-Chairman of Mezzan Holding Company, Muhammad Jassim Al-Wazzan, revealed plans to establish a pharmaceutical factory to be build on an area of 40,000 square meters in Sabhan to produce various items such as ampoules, medicines and modern medical equipment, to be added to the items that are currently being produced and distributed, reports Al-Anba daily. Work on the factory is expected to begin soon and the new plant is expected to be completed within a maximum of two years. He added, offers have been received from international pharmaceutical companies for manufacturing some items locally which are being studied.

Al-Wazzan told the daily, registering drugs after production is not an easy and simple process. Rather, there are long procedures, protocols, laboratory tests, certain requirements, cooperation, experiences of external companies, accreditation and reviews from the Ministry of Health, so the product through that mechanism takes approximately two years to get approval to start producing it, therefore, building a new pharmaceutical production plant may take some time compared to other factories. Al-Wazzan said he is optimistic about the financial results for the first quarter of this year, which he expects to come according to the company’s plan.

He said that since Mezzan Holding acquired 67% of the shares of the Kuwaiti- Saudi Pharmaceutical Industries Company (KSPICO), the company’s business has seen remarkable growth since the Corona pandemic, as it has witnessed an expansion in all activities, especially in production and export activities regionally and specifically for the Gulf Cooperation Council countries. Al-Wazzan added that the company’s capital investments in the group are continuing permanently, such as the renewal and rehabilitation of some factories, and there is also a new plastic factory, but its impact on the company’s profits may not be significantly influential. He pointed out that the group seeks to expand outside Kuwait and work to increase the pace of foreign investment, so far local investments account for about 70% of the total investments in the group, as Kuwait is a good environment and a preferred geographical area for investment, but we are investing at an increasing pace abroad to try to strike the balance between foreign and domestic investments.

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