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Kuwait urges removal of ‘hurdles’ that hinder trade activity in GAFTA

Fatwa clarifies on news item

CAIRO, Dec 26, (KUNA): It is imperative to eliminate any hurdles encumbering business in the Greater Arab Free Trade Area (GAFTA) “at this critical juncture,” said a Kuwaiti official on Tuesday. Heading Kuwait’s delegation to the 44th meeting of the Arab League’s Economic and Social Council’s executive committee, Zuwaid Al-Mutairi, who monitors Arab affairs at Kuwait’s finance ministry, told KUNA that some nations have taken measures that have been counterproductive to trade in the Arab region. He said that it was crucial to remove all obstacles that hinder activity in GAFTA, citing plans of greater trade reforms that will be discussed during the two-day meeting. On the meeting, Al-Mutairi added that consumer protection was among the issues included in the agenda.

Meanwhile, Fatwa and Legislation Department commented on the news item published by Al-Qabas newspaper on Nov 26 concerning the allegation of delay in treating four economic legislation presented to the department, reports Al- Qabas daily. Chairman of the Department of Fatwa and Legislation Salah Al-Mes’ad stated one of the documents constituted the bill on unified tax procedures. He explained the department quickly sought the opinion of relevant authorities immediately after receiving the proposal from the Ministry of Finance. He said a meeting of the ministry officials on Oct 18 discussed the issue, and they unanimously agreed that the ministry should amend the draft law based on some observations. He noted the ministry has since finished its task and forwarded the document to the Ministry of Justice for the relevant committee to work on it.

He affirmed that the second bill presented to the department was about fees and other financial obligations for using public facilities. He added the draft law was presented to the relevant parliamentary committee which detected constitutional ambiguity in the document. Ministry of Finance later forwarded the document to the department and reply was sent to the Ministry of Finance Undersecretary on Aug 7, stating the bill violated Article 50 of the constitution.

Meanwhile, the third issue was about the draft law on establishing Kuwait Postal Company, and Al-Mes’ad observed that board chairmanship of the company by the supervisory minister and granting of postal license to the company contravenes the existing Law No. 1/1970 concerning postal activities. He noted a letter was promptly sent to the Ministry of Communications over the need for their representative to attend a meeting scheduled for Aug 16 to discuss the observations. He added the draft bill on selective tax was the fourth issue and that the department received the bill on June 21 and held a meeting on July 30 in the presence of representatives of the Ministry of Finance to deliberate on the grey areas. He affirmed the department on Aug 16 communicated suggestion of the ministry representative to postpone the discussion until tax procedures law is concluded and released. He reiterated the department never shuns its responsibility concerning draft laws it receives for opinion, indicating such bills have always been handled within the shortest possible time.

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