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Speaker presides at budget talks – Panel tackles economic situation

KUWAIT CITY, March 3: Parliament Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanim on Thursday presided over the Finance and Economic Affairs Committee meeting, during which the panel members and other concerned officials discussed a number of issues related to the current economic situation and ways to address the budget deficit.

Besides the committee chairman and members, several officials from the Ministry of Electricity and Water (MEW) also attended the meeting including Undersecretary Mohammad Bushahri and Assistant Undersecretary for Planning and Training Affairs Dr Mishan Al- Otaibi.

The meeting clarified the vision and strategy of the government in dealing with the current economic situation, in addition to the electricity consumption and fees.

According to sources, the proposed electricity fees for private houses are categorized into four: 1 to 3,000 kilowatts will cost three fi ls; 3,001 to 6,000 kilowatts will be increased to eight fils; 6,001 to 9,000 kilowatts will be 10 fils while the fee for consumption above 9,000 kilowatts has yet to be determined although it is expected to be more than 10 fils.

For investment buildings, the fees 1 to 1,000 kilowatts will cost five fils; 1,001 to 2,000 kilowatts will be eight fils; and from 2,001 to 3,000 kilowatts will be 10 fils.

For commercial buildings, the fee will be 19 fils per kilowatt and fee for the industrial sector will remain the same – two fils per kilowatt. Sources revealed the committee rejected the proposed electricity charges and told the government these are unacceptable. Sources said the committee suggested that it will set the charges at two fils for 1 to 6,000 kilowatts – the average consumption of citizens while the fees for those with consumption higher than 6,000 kilowatts will be increased gradually but the government allegedly voiced reservation in this regard.

Meanwhile, the Youth and Sports Committee talked about ways to lift the suspension of Kuwaiti sports and other related issues. Committee Chairman MP Abdullah Al-Mayouf disclosed they tackled the law on privatizing the sports sector and its role in the development of sports. He confirmed the panel members agreed to send a letter to the information minister regarding the sports authority’s lack of cooperation with the committee in terms of providing the required documents.

In another development, MP Ali Al-Khamis forwarded his first set of questions after taking his oath as a parliamentarian to Information Minister Sheikh Salman Al-Hamoud.

He asked about the staff of Al-Adala TV Channel, saying said several Iranian employees were terminated from the United National Media Company (Al-Adala Channel) seven months ago, yet they are still under the sponsorship of the company. He then requested for the names of Iranian employees in the company, along with copies of their contracts, termination notice and license of the channel.

By Abubakar A. Ibrahim Arab Times Staff

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