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Sunday , November 18 2018

PARLIAMENT ALLOWS KD 150mn DRAW ON RESERVES – MPs nod to $500m Eurofighter spend

Members of Parliament voting on an issue in Tuesday’s parliamentary session.
Members of Parliament voting on an issue in Tuesday’s parliamentary session.

KUWAIT CITY, March 1: Kuwait’s Parliament on Tuesday approved a bill allowing the government to spend an additional $500 million (KD 150 mln) on buying Eurofighter “Typhoon” warplanes. The new funding comes on top of $10 billion additional defence spending already approved by Parliament in January to upgrade the country’s military.

Defence Minister Sheikh Khaled Jarrah Al-Sabah told MPs the $10 billion will be spent over the next 10 years, while the new funds will be used as an advance payment for the jets. The Eurofighter consortium said in September that Kuwait had agreed to buy 28 Typhoons in a deal worth 7-8 billion euros ($8-9 billion). The extra funds will be withdrawn from state reserves.

Kuwait is a member of the US-led coalition that has been bombing Islamic State group targets in Syria and Iraq since last year, and is also taking part in a Saudi-led coalition pounding Iran-backed rebels in Yemen. Also in November, Kuwait signed 2.5 billion euros ($2.8 billion) worth of fixed and provisional military deals led by the purchase of 24 Airbus-built Caracal helicopters.

Paris said Kuwait would buy the helicopters for one billion euros, with an option for a further six. Other deals included the provision of French light armoured vehicles and patrol boat maintenance.

The Parliament approved the proposal to add another paragraph to Article Five of Housing Care Law Number 47/1993 in its second reading Tuesday. This bill aims to exempt the Public Authority for Housing Welfare (PAHW) from prior censorship by the State Audit Bureau and Public Tenders Law for fi ve years ending Dec 31, 2021. This will enable the PAHW to speed up the completion of housing projects, but its work program shall remain under the censorship of the bureau.

The bill also mandates the PAHW to submit a financial report to the Parliament at the end of each fiscal year. Commenting on the decision of the Parliament, Minister of State for Housing Affairs Yasser Aboul thanked members of the National Assembly and the Housing Affairs Committee for their unwavering support. He pointed out the bill shall enable the government to shoulder a greater responsibility in order to present practical solutions to the housing problem and expedite the implementation of housing projects.

Moreover, the Parliament approved a bill on amending General Investigations Department Law Number 53/2001 in its first and second readings. The proposal stipulates the need to treat members of the department like their counterparts in the Public Prosecution in terms of granting financial and other types of privileges such as bonuses and end-ofservice package.

Meanwhile, the Parliament has rejected, in principle, 12 reports of various committees so these reports were removed from the agenda as follows:

■ Report of the Public Funds Protection Committee on the proposed amendment of Law Number 1/1993 on the protection of public funds.

■ Third report of the Housing Committee on the establishment of Sabah Al-Ahmed City

By Abubakar A. Ibrahim Arab Times Staff and Agencies

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