KUWAIT CITY, Aug 19: Rapporteur of the Priorities Committee of the National Assembly MP Ahmed Lari has refuted ‘allegations’ that the committee has agreed to an increase in the price of gasoline. He stressed the decision to hike the price is in the hands of the government because it neither needs the approval of the Parliament nor any committee. Lari explained the duty of the Priorities Committee is to develop and prepare the Parliament but the decision to hike the price of gasoline is purely in the hands of the Council of Ministers and the decision is expected to be enforced from Sept 1, 2016.
“We in the Parliament have been insisting on our opinion that there should be support for citizens as happened with the issue of the electricity so that the citizens don’t get affected by the hike in the charges,” he said.
He added the Parliamentarians are pushing for the implementation of the recommendation of the Finance Committee, “and most importantly for us is to have support for citizens, and the government in turn has promised to study the issue and a decision is expected in October or November of this year so that the Parliament and the government reach a consensus to support the citizen in some or the other way.”
On the government’s intention to lift subsidy of other commodities, Lari said, after the removal of subsidies on electricity and gasoline he doesn’t think there is anything left to lift the subsidy on. He also said he did not hear of any government plan in this regard.
Concerning what was published on the social media that the Parliament has given a nod to amend the electoral system to two votes and five constituencies, Lari explained, the Parliament has neither discussed nor agreed on this point. What actually happened, he said, is that the Legislative Committee of the National Assembly has discussed a proposal submitted by MP Ahmad Mutei and approved it in principle.
This approval means the constitutionality of the proposal, but not necessarily means the Parliament will approve it. He added in general there is no move by the government or the Parliament to amend the electoral system from one vote to two votes. He added the National Assembly during the last legislative round –thanks to the cooperation of the two authorities — was able to accomplish a large number of important laws, most notably the tenders and commercial agencies law and the domestic workers law.
Lari explained the Parliament is keen to follow up the implementation of the laws which the government has passed such as domestic laborers law and medical insurance for retirees. As for the medical insurance for retirees, “we followed its implementation with the Ministry of Health and the contract has been signed with an insurance company and in two months time the insurance cards can be collected from medical centers.” He stressed the Parliament has played its role on the oversight aspect, particularly in the case of follow-up of the deficit in the special budget by exploring the measures presented by the government of the economic reform document.
Lari said real reforms should come via increasing and diversifying the state’s sources of income and addressing the demographic problems which have made the citizens a minority in their own country.
By Abubakar A. Ibrahim Arab Times Staff