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‘No private jets for ministers … except for an urgent need’

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‘KD 22m estimates of govt aircraft operations in ’19/20 budget’

KUWAIT CITY, July 20: In conjunction with government’s move to rationalize spending as a tool to counter budget deficits, a ministerial source affirmed that the use of private aircraft by ministers is not open wide. Rather, it is linked to urgent need and regulation, reports Al-Qabas daily. The source said that estimates of government aircraft operations in the budget for fiscal year 2019/2020 were approximately 22 million dinars. He detailed the government aircraft operating estimates in the budget for fiscal year 2020/2021, noting they amounted to 21.9 million dinars and 18 million dinars in the 2020/2021 draft budget of the Amiri Diwan.

He added, “The use of government aircraft is subject to specific regulations, and ministers do not require the use of private aircraft for their official duties unless there is an urgent need for that.” On the other hand, the source renewed the governmental assurance to proceed on rationalizing spending within the reform plans deemed indispensable at the current stage. He explained that spending on construction projects will be carried out according to four main controls as follows: “The priority of project in terms of importance, ability of the executive bodies, productivity and economic returns, improving services and sustainable development.”

On the general vision of the State’s general future budget, especially with regard to handling and resolving estimated deficits in the State’s general budget, the source stated the Ministry of Finance has directed government agencies on the need to adhere to rationalizing government spending in accordance with Cabinet Resolution No. 51 of 2014 urging all different government agencies to take serious procedures to rationalize expenditure, and to determine expenditures can that be dispensed with and not to include them in the estimates. “With regard to the requirements of the authorities in construction projects, consideration is given to the order of priorities according to their importance, and in a manner commensurate with the executive capacity of the relevant authorities focusing on productive projects with economic returns necessary to improve the services provided to citizens.

This is to activate the wheel of the national economy in accordance with the goals of sustainable development.” The source emphasized the concern to provide financial requirements of the authorities for radical maintenance of the existing projects, including machinery and equipment to preserve the assets in order to achieve full benefit and to extend their life and productivity. He mentioned the initiatives outlined in the aforementioned “fiscal sustainability” axis represent the necessary recommendations for avoiding deficits that were reached after several meetings and discussions. He pointed out that the initial estimates of expenditures submitted by government agencies are subject to a detailed review to exclude any overestimation before preparing the draft budget that is presented to the Cabinet before it is submitted to the National Assembly.

What are the results of the investigation into the Karakal deal? MP Thamer Al-Suwait asked the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Sheikh Ahmad Al- Mansour about the outcome of the technical committee formed last February to determine the suspicions of the “Karakal planes” deal. Al-Suwait asked, in a parliamentary question to the minister, to provide him with the number of members of the committee, both military and civilian, and the reason for the head of the committee and his deputy, who are at the ranks of brigadier general and colonel, to resign and apologize for completing their duties. Did they apologize by their desire or based on oral orders from senior officials in the military? What has the committee achieved since its formation and carrying out its work until now?

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