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MP critical of regulations put on ‘COVID’ openings

KUWAIT CITY, Aug 17: Four members of the parliamentary Financial and Economic Affairs Committee voted in favor of the Public Loan Bill submitted by the government while one member abstained, says Committee Chairperson MP Safa’a Al Hashem.

MP Safa’a Al-Hashem

Al-Hashem pointed out that the government did not present an integrated economic plan which includes alternative sources of income. She disclosed the bill was drafted before the coronavirus crisis which brought dramatic economic changes.

She quoted the minister of finance as saying that KD 7 billion out of the proposed KD 20 billion loan will be used to cover the State budget deficit and KD 16 billion for capital projects, but he did not give a clear definition of capital projects.

She asked how the Central Bank of Kuwait (CBK) governor will present a road show to global financing institutions if there is no plan to create alternative sources of income, in addition to the fact that Kuwait’s rating in the credibility index went down from AA+ to AA and even went down further later.

Addressing HH the Prime Minister, Al-Hashem asked if the minister of finance will defend the bill in the National Assembly and distinguish between capital projects and constructive projects. She added the committee unanimously approved the proposed amendment of the indemnity for employees of Kuwait Aviation Services Company (KASCO) stipulated in Article Eight of Law No. 6/ 2008; affirming that the government, represented by the minister of finance, also approved the amendment which stipulates adding KD 7.164 million to the budget for indemnity. On the other hand, MP Ahmed Al-Fadl thanked the Cabinet for its decision to reopen a number of businesses like barber shops, spas and cafés.

However, the regulations laid down by the health authorities imply that they are away from reality. These regulations seem ridiculous since they allow the businesses to reopen without providing services. How can a barber shop be open if it is not allowed to cut hair and cafés are prohibited from offering shisha, which constitutes 70 percent of the income?, the lawmaker asserted.

He wondered how an individual who goes to the gym is asked to wear face mask while he is doing physical exercises and how he is asked to keep a distance of 10 square meters away from the other customer. He revealed that his office prepared a statistical report which showed the number of deaths in the first half of 2017 is more than the deaths in the same period in 2020, which implies the worries regarding coronavirus are too exaggerated. He added someone can argue that the total curfew period helped in reducing the number of deaths due to traffic incidents.

He said if the deaths caused by traffic incidents are considered, the number of deaths in the first half of 2018 is still higher than in the same period in 2020. He called on His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khalid to review the regulations and control the power given to health authorities for the decisions to be applicable.

Meanwhile, Rapporteur of the Social and Health Affairs Committee MP Sa’adoun Hammad disclosed that the committee met the representatives of the Health Ministry to discuss the amendment of Law No. 25/1981 on organizing the medical professions. Hammad said the committee approved two articles to be added to the aforementioned law.

The first article states that any surgery or medical work which requires the patient’s approval and in case the latter cannot give approval; his guardian, mother, brother, sister and any of the first and second relatives can sign the approval.

The second article states that a doctor can do the required surgery or medical work in case the patient is not able to give approval and none of his relatives are available such as in cases of traffic incidents and emergency cases. Hammad added the committee will soon receive an integrated bill from the government on the medical profession performance, then the committee will discuss it and submit a report to the National Assembly.

He went on to say that the committee will soon meet Minister of Social Affairs and State Minister for Economic Affairs Mariam Al- Aqeel to get information about the number of citizens registered on the platform of Kuwaitis without salaries and in order to figure out how many of them have been appointed, the remaining number and the reasons for not appointing them yet.

Moreover, MP Abdullah Al-Kandari said he was surprised that Interior and Defense Affairs Committee rejected his bill, which is aimed at criminalizing primary elections (tribal elections). He added that even if he is a member of the committee, he was not invited to the meeting, indicating that according to the National Assembly decree, members of the committees must be invited to the meetings at least 24 hours before the meeting time.

Al-Kandari revealed he is afraid that he was not invited to the meeting because of his supporting position, which is against the opinion of the chairman of the committee. He continued saying that he sent a letter to Speaker of the Assembly Marzouq Al-Ghanim on this issue in order to take the relevant decision and to prevent recurrence of the issue.

By Saeed Mahmoud Saleh Arab Times Staff

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