Wednesday , September 27 2023

Budgets to dominate Assembly session; Bill to protect retirees

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KUWAIT CITY, Oct 24: Kuwait National Assembly is set to hold a special session Tuesday to discuss a number of bills related to budgets of ministries, government departments and independent bodies for fiscal year 2022-23. Parliamentarians will be debating capital expenditures in general and spendings in the first chapter of the budget, which is dedicated to compensation of employees.

The parliament will also discuss a report by its Budgets Committee regarding transfer of funds among government departments for 2021-22, and final statements of independent departments for 2021-22. Minister of Finance and Minister of State for Economic and Investment Affairs Abdulwahhab Al-Rushaid said, in a statement on August 2, that this parliament would be tasked with passing state budget linking government bodies. This decision comes as “per the directives” of His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Ahmad Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, Al-Rushaid had told KUNA.

He said projected expenditures for fiscal year 2022-23 totalled KD 23.065 billion (USD 75.250 billion) MPs Hamad Al-Medlej, Shuaib Al-Muwaizri, Shuaib Shaaban, Saad Al-Asfour, Osama Al-Zaid, Falah Al-Hajri and Abdullah Fehad have submitted a bill on amending the Public Institution for Social Security (PIFSS) Law.

Al-Medlej explained the bill is aimed at strengthening protection for the retirees’ money that is managed and invested by PIFSS. He said the first part of the bill stipulates dismissing the representative of Kuwait Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) from the PIFSS Board of Directors, indicating this is due to the recent decision to appoint the KCCI representative as chairperson of the Investment Committee at PIFSS. He added this committee is tasked to specify the representation of PIFSS in the boards of directors of banks and companies.

He went on to say that the second part of the bill states the dismissal of the KCCI representative from the Board of Directors of Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA) as it is unacceptable to grant decision-making power regarding monitoring to the same entity. MP Muhammad Al-Hewaila submitted a bill on the establishment of a public hospital in Mubarak Al-Kabeer on land measuring at least 25,000 Square meters. The Ministry of Public Works should provide this land, supervise the construction work until completion, and then hand over the hospital to the Ministry of Health.

This hospital consists of various medical specializations and surgeries. The government should coordinate with international companies for the design of the hospital and to follow up the construction work to ensure everything is in accordance with the international standards. The budget for the hospital project will be included in the State budget for fiscal 2022/2023 and the completion period is three years starting from the date of ratifying the bill, the lawmaker revealed.

MP Majed Al-Mutairi submitted a bill on adding Kuwaiti housewives to the beneficiaries of health insurance for retirees and those with disabilities (Afiya). He also suggested granting social allowance to Kuwaiti widows, divorced, unmarried and married women; increase the monthly allowance of students pursuing rare fields of specialization from KD 350 to KD750; increase the social allowance of citizens from KD 50 to KD 100 and the allowance of people with disabilities to KD 200 per month; establish an institute for Islamic studies for girls in preparatory and secondary stages in Ahmadi; and assign Zakat House to provide financial support amounting to KD 200 to disabled Kuwaitis, Bedouns and children of Kuwaiti women married to non-Kuwaitis who apply for such allowance.

MP Faisal Al-Kandari submitted a proposal to increase by 25 percent the incentive for students on scholarship to help them cope with the rising cost of living all over the world. He cited the recent increase in the prices of goods and services in some countries; indicating that the rent in the United States of America increased by 17 percent, 20 percent in the United Kingdom, 10 percent in Australia and 15 percent in Canada, in addition to the electricity and water price hike.

Meanwhile, MP Alia Al-Khalid asked Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Salem Abdullah Al-Jaber Al-Sabah to provide her with a list of female political researchers working in the ministry, if any of them have been appointed to diplomatic or consular posts, and number of employees assigned in the diplomatic and consular sectors. MP Muhammad Al-Hewaila forwarded queries to Minister of Health Ahmed Abdulwahab Al-Awadhi about the exclusion of those residing in Abdullah Al-Salem residential area and others from the beneficiaries of Jaber Al-Ahmad Hospital, criteria in specifying the areas whose residents benefit from the hospital, if the criteria include geographic location and number of residents, and if a committee was formed to specify the beneficiaries. If yes, he requested for copies of the decisions and recommendations of the committee.

MP Hamdan Al-Azmi forwarded queries to all ministers about the delayed payment of the incentive for workers on the frontline of the fight against Coronavirus. He wants to know the number of beneficiaries, amount of incentive for each beneficiary, criteria for specifying the beneficiaries and incentive amount, if the ministries or their subsidiaries received petitions on the disbursement of the incentive, steps taken in response to such petitions, and if the lists of beneficiaries were submitted to the Civil Service Commission. He demanded for copies of these lists if the reply is in the affirmative. By Saeed Mahmoud Saleh Arab Times Staff and Agencies

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