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Remittance tax, health ‘cover’ on expat visit visas on agenda

KUWAIT CITY, Nov 25: The Secretariat General of the National Assembly has distributed the agenda for Tuesday’s session, which include requests to lift the immunity of several MPs and some proposals, reports Al-Rai daily.

The Parliament will also discuss reports of the relevant committees about the proposal to impose tax on the remittances of expatriates, health insurance for expatriates on visit visa, and merging the Public Authority for Manpower (PAM) and Manpower and Government Restructuring Program (MGRP).

MP focus on early retirement bill

The Early Retirement Bill has been the subject of dispute between the legislative and executive authorities since its passage in the last legislative term. The government refused to implement the bill, citing impracticality due to its financial impact; so the Parliament made it a priority to pass the bill once again in the current legislative term.

The legislature argued that the government’s concern can be addressed through simple amendment, pointing out the bill is a public demand and will greatly contribute to the successful implementation of the replacement policy.

The bill is now under the magnifying glass of the Parliament, which is working towards building a strong stance that will be discussed in Tuesday’s session.

However, the government recently disclosed its intention to replace the bill with its own version; prompting most MPs, including MP Ali Al-Duqbasi, to raise more questions. Al-Duqbasi considers this governmental maneuver procrastination, claiming the executive authority is using the bill as a “political stimulus.”

He said the government often uses certain phrases such as ‘legislative inconsistency’ and ‘constitutional sensitivity’ whenever it talks about its decision to reject the bill. Urging Minister of Finance Naif Al-Hajraf to elaborate, Al-Duqbasi pointed out the minister requested for an independent body to review the bill.

“The summer holidays have passed but the government has yet to present a clear vision. How can the government have a clear vision if it constantly changes its opinion on the bill?” the MP wondered.

Article Four of the bill, which stipulates the percentage of contribution shouldered by the citizens and the State, has been the bone of contention between the two authorities since the government referred the bill back to the Parliament for revision. In the spirit of cooperation, the legislature removed this provision in the hope that the bill will be ratified in the current legislative term.

Al-Duqbasi also hopes the concerned committee will complete its report before the session, and for the government to cooperate in passing the bill considering the main subject of dispute has been addressed. Furthermore, the interpellation motion submitted by MP Shu’aib Al-Muwaizri against HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak is on top of the agenda for Tuesday’s session.

Sources said 14 MPs have so far expressed willingness to support the interpellation, but some are either skeptical or against the motion such as MP Khalaf Dumaitheer who believes the interpellation is unconstitutional. He considers the act an “attempt to force the liquidation of this Parliament.”

The Parliament will also look into the request to allocate two hours of the session to discuss ramifications of the poor design of Al-Zour Refinery which will allegedly cost the State an unimaginable amount.

In other news, Parliament’s Legislation Committee has referred to the National Assembly its report on approval of four draft laws concerning amendments of some clauses in Law No. 47/1993 on housing welfare, reports Al-Anba daily.

One of the proposals was submitted by MP Dr Hamoud Al-Khudair in demand for compensating owners of government houses of total area less than 400 square meters with an amount of KD 750 per square meters for maximum of 200 square meters and that the amount should be taken from the state’s public reserve.

The committee approved this proposal The committee also approved a draft law submitted by two MPs Ali Al- Daqbasi and Askar Al-Enezi concerning the same manner, but demanding the compensation should be KD 1,000 per square meters based on the request of the affected house owner.

The committee approved another draft law submitted by MP Askar Al- Enezi for allocation of land which is eligible for construction to real-estate companies listed under Kuwait Boursa in order to build residential complexes at its expense for helping citizens who are waiting for housing.

Also, the committee approved a draft law submitted by two MPs Khalid Al-Otaibi and Majid Al-Mutairi to increase rent allowance to KD 250. Finally, the committee referred to the National Assembly a draft law submitted by two MPs Adnan Abdulsamad and Dr Khalil Abdullah to grant citizenship to the children of Kuwaiti mothers and non-Kuwaiti fathers based on points system.

The higher committees will be responsible for studying the applications. The points system will focus on the status of the children’s maternal grandfather, great grandfather and relatives, place of birth of the first child and if the father is included in the 1965 census.

 

By Ahmed Al-Naqeeb Arab Times Staff and Agencies

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