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Wednesday , January 19 2022

‘Several MPs call for special session to check govt readiness to tackle various strains of coronavirus’

KUWAIT CITY, Feb 8: National Assembly Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanim has confirmed receiving the proposal of several MPs, including MP Osama Al-Menawer, to hold a special session for deliberation on the government’s readiness to deal with various strains of coronavirus; as well as the related decisions and regulations.

Al-Ghanim told the journalists that he informed the interim government about the proposal and he is now waiting for its response. He thanked Al-Menawer and his colleagues for not specifying a date for the special session; thereby, giving the interim government enough time to edit the relevant bills and fully prepare for the session.

Asked what could be the opinion of the interim government regarding the special session considering it has already resigned and it is currently serving in acting capacity, Al- Ghanim pointed out it is up to the interim government to decide whether the proposed special session is urgent or not.

He affirmed that he will inform the proponents of the special session once he receives the response of the interim government. In another development, MP Saleh Ziab Al-Mutairi submitted a bill to amend Handicapped Affairs Law No. 73/2020 to add the fourth category of handicapped – total disability.

The current law stipulates only three categories – minor, medium and severe disabilities. The bill changes the phrase ‘servant allowance’ to ‘nursing service allowance’ for those taking care of persons with disabilities. It stipulates offering training courses and qualification programs for the parents and relatives of the handicapped.

Privileges
The bill stipulates granting privileges to women who are taking care of a handicapped child without the need to obtain a certificate from the Ministry of Interior stating that they are treated like Kuwaitis.

This is in addition to increasing the loan amount granted to the handicapped for the construction or repair of their houses. It allows male and female employees to retire early in order to take care of a handicapped family member, provided they have been in service for 15 years. MP Soud Bu Sleeb has proposed amending Housing Welfare Law No. 47/1993, specifying KD100 as monthly installment for housing loans granted to citizens.

He explained that he submitted the proposal after noticing the monthly installment for housing loans sometimes eats up almost half of the citizens’ salary. He also submitted a bill on cancelling Cybercrimes Law No. 63/2015 as it violates the citizens’ freedom of speech. Meanwhile, the parliamentary Budgets and Final Accounts Committee discussed Monday the budget of the Ministry of Electricity and Water for fiscal 2019/2020.

Committee Chairman MP Badr Al-Mullah confirmed the attendance of the representatives of the Ministry of Electricity and Water, Ministry of Finance, State Audit Bureau (SAB), Financial Controllers Bureau (FCB) and Civil Service Commission (CSC). He revealed the total revenues of the ministry reached KD311 million, while the expenditures totaled KD2.6 billion; hence, the deficit is almost KD2.3 billion.

He said 65 percent of the expenditures were on power and distillation plants, indicating the ministry failed to implement its plan for five years which ended in March 2020. He added the target power production was 21,000 megawatts, while the actual production was 19,500 thousand megawatts.

He went on to say that no funds were allotted for the provision of main power plants in Mubarak Al-Kabeer Port and Buobyan Island although this item was included in the budget of the ministry for the last three fiscal years. He revealed the committee asked the ministry to refrain from transferring any money from one item to another in the budget for fiscal 2021/2022.

Supply
He disclosed the State allotted around KD5 billion for Kuwait National Petroleum Corporation (KNPC) to supply the Ministry of Electricity and Water with the oil it needs for power and water production. He said the decree issued on January 1, 1980 concerning the accounting system between KNPC and the ministry needs revision; indicating SAB highlighted an agreement that the two parties signed in 2015 in this regard.

He pointed out the Ministry of Electricity and Water disclosed that it voiced objection to the agreement in 2017, then the dispute was referred to the Council of Ministers for settlement. The Legal and Legislative Affairs Committee on Monday tackled several bills, which were referred to the concerned committees. Committee Chairman MP Khalid Ayed confirmed the unanimous approval of bills on general amnesty, indicating the relevant report has been completed and it will be included in the agenda of the upcoming session.

Ayed revealed the committee rejected the request to lift the immunity of MP Badr Al-Dahoum, because it found out that the case filed against the latter is malicious. The committee approved one bill on granting social support to the elderly and two bills on granting more support to citizens working in the private sector.

These three bills were referred to the concerned committees, he added. He continued saying that the report on the proposal to expand the scope of freedom of speech will be referred to the Assembly soon to pave way for its inclusion in the agenda of the next session.

Furthermore, MP Osama Al-Shaheen forwarded queries to interim Minister of Justice Nawaf Al-Yasseen about the number of individuals who benefited from Article 153 of the Penal Code in the last five years. He said this article stipulates commutation of death penalty to three years imprisonment for whoever killed his sister or daughter in what is known as ‘honor crimes’.

By Saeed Mahmoud Saleh Arab Times Staff

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