KUWAIT CITY, May 30: The Finance and Economic Affairs Committee in the Parliament believes the revised Tenders Law is clearer, more transparent and in line with the latest developments; particularly since the existing law was ratified more then 25 years ago, hence, the need for revision, says MP Ahmed Lari. Lari made the statement in a symposium, entitled ‘New Tenders Law’, in his diwaniya recently.
During the symposium, Lari talked about the controversies surrounding the proposal of former Minister Ahmad Baqer to give preference to companies listed on Kuwait Stock Exchange (KSE) in public tenders. He affirmed the latest report of the committee negated the idea, disclosing he told Baqer that the law cannot require all individual companies to list on the stock market just to be given priority in tenders.
He said some individual companies are known for their better performance, national services and social responsibility, while their money is considered Kuwaiti funds because they spend their wealth in Kuwait and they bring significant economic returns. He warned these advantages might be lost if national wealth goes to non-Kuwaiti shareholders who spend their money outside the country.
He explained that even though the law stipulates this preference, there are only four construction companies listed on the stock exchange and the major individual local companies are excluded so the State will not benefit from them. He said the goal of those supporting the proposal to give preference to listed companies is to lure more companies into listing on the KSE such that citizens share the profits instead of a limited number of individuals. He asserted, “We cannot compel individual companies to list on the stock exchange.
If preference is given to currently listed companies, the profits will go to non-Kuwaitis because most of those who own shares in the four construction companies are non-Kuwaiti groups and this will not be beneficial to citizens.” He confirmed several people and institutions have contributed to the revision of the law, including the Central Tenders Committee (CTC) headed by Ahmad Al-Kulaib, Parliament Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanim who made a great contribution even during his tenure as a lawmaker and member of the Finance Committee, and incumbent Committee Chairman MP Faisal Al-Shaye. He added a number of stipulations in the current law require modification, such as the provision on lowest price to ensure it is done with high level of transparency and clarity.
He said there has been an agreement with the government to implement a system to guarantee transparency and autonomy of the CTC. He clarified the revised law takes into account the confidentiality of documents by stipulating the need to use a mechanism to prevent anyone from manipulating documents. He went on to say the amended law also limits the tenure of CTC officials to eight years only.
He revealed the law stipulates supporting local producers and national industries through tenders, while foreign investors are allowed to participate in the bidding without a local sponsor but they can only use 30 percent of local contractors and they are required to use local products in their projects. He noted the law states that some institutions like the National Guard, Army, Central Bank and oil companies are exempted from the condition on awarding their projects through the CTC provided they meet the conditions.
In another development, MP Hamoud Al-Hamdan stated that despite the qualifications and competencies of Arabic teachers, vouched by their respective schools, the applicants continue to fail in the Arabic Language supervisor exam. For this reason, the MP submitted queries to Minister of Education and Higher Education Bader Al-Essa.
He wants to know the factors behind the applicants’ failure, absence of a third party supervising the committee in charge of the examinations, and reasons for not holding the supervisory department responsible for the errors or weaknesses of teachers. On another hand, MP Faisal Al-Duwaisan submitted queries to the minister of communications and state minister for municipality affairs about the implementation of public safety and environment protection laws. He asked about the priorities in terms of addressing violations, number of violations registered in the past three months, areas with high number of violations, and actions taken by the State Ministry for Municipality Affairs against those proven to have violated the regulations.
By Abubakar A. Ibrahim and Ahmed Al-Naqeeb Arab Times Staff