KUWAIT CITY, Feb 16: MP Talal Al-Jalal has outrightly rejected the plan of Finance Minister and acting Minister of Oil Anas Al-Saleh to increase the salaries of expatriate teachers at a time the government is planning to lift subsidies and reduce financial support for Kuwaitis undergoing treatment in other countries due to the budget deficit.
Commenting on the issue, Rapporteur of Women and Family Committee MP Mohammed Tana admitted he was surprised when he heard about the plan to increase the housing allowance for female expatriate teachers from KD 60 to KD 150 retroactively.
He urged the government to stop this, especially since Kuwaiti women married to non-Kuwaitis have been deprived of this privilege. He asserted the committee will discuss such inequality even if the issue reaches the court, demanding justice for Kuwaiti women married to non-Kuwaitis.
He accused the government of taking decisions against these Kuwaiti women while focusing on the interests of expatriates. He claimed the government has yet to address the problems of Kuwaiti women married to non-Kuwaitis such as the employment and naturalization of their children.
He affirmed the committee will deliberate on the rent allowance for these women and the residency status of their children.
In a related development, several MPs have voiced objection to the decision of the Cabinet to reduce financial support for citizens undergoing treatment abroad while planning to increase the salaries and allowances for expatriate teachers.
MP Abdul-Hameed Dashti wondered why the Cabinet took this decision even if it is still waiting for the parliamentary Finance Committee’s report on the economic reform plans and rationalization of subsidies. He considers this step unfortunate, especially since the Cabinet took it unilaterally – without consulting the Parliament. He asked if this is a preliminary move towards stopping the overseas medical treatment benefits granted to citizens and if the Cabinet is fully prepared for this step. He then urged the Cabinet to justify its decision, wondering what a Kuwaiti patient undergoing treatment in Europe or America will do with KD 50 and KD 30 for those in other countries, taking into consideration the soaring prices of commodities and services. He asserted that His Highness the Prime Minister Jaber Al-Mubarak Al- Hamad Al-Sabah should have asked each minister to present reports on items which should be rationalized with justifications and projected savings
By Abubakar A. Ibrahim Arab Times Staff