KUWAIT CITY, Feb 9: The Parliament unanimously approved the Commercial Agencies Draft Law in its second reading Tuesday. The draft law gives a client the chance to have more than one agent and distributor in Kuwait in order to prevent monopoly. Minister of Commerce and Industry Dr Yusuf Al-Ali thanked the Parliament and its Speaker — Marzouq Al-Ghanim — for approving the draft law.
He hopes his ministry will present other laws for promoting trade as it is one of the attributes of Kuwait. Meanwhile, the Parliament tackled the economic situation and the plan to lift subsidies in a bid to clarify the government’s policies in this regard. During the discussion, MP Saleh Ashour claimed that Finance Minister Anas Al-Saleh has not presented a clear economic vision to the Parliament. He demanded for postponement of the discussion until the minister presents this vision.
In his response, Al-Saleh clarified there is no plan to lift subsidies as the government is gearing towards rationalization of subsidies. He affirmed the government had earlier presented its economic vision to the Parliament Office — around 139 pages, indicating all MPs should be aware of the current economic situation. MP Yousef Al-Zalzalah argued the minister should explain to them the government’s vision on the deteriorating economic situation. Al-Saleh then stressed that this issue is sensitive as it affects each segment of the society and all those interested in public finance.
The minister also thanked HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al- Jaber Al-Sabah for his unprecedented initiative as he instructed the Cabinet to rationalize expenditures of the Amiri Diwan, so other government institutions followed suit. He added the increasing public expenditure has negative implications considering the budget increased six times in 14 years while salaries and wages constitute 50 percent of the budget, in addition to 25 percent for subsidies. He confirmed the current allocation for subsidies is 20 percent of the budget but the salaries increased three-fold. He asserted the incumbent government and Parliament should not be blamed for this.
He disclosed the contribution of the treasury to social security reached KD 3.3 billion in fiscal 2014/2015 as a way of supporting retirees. He said water, electricity and fuel constitute 70 percent of the subsidy bill; emphasizing the need to review subsidies considering the excessive consumption and wastage of public funds.
On the other hand, the Parliament approved the request of the Women and Family Committee chairman for the panel to study issues related to the residency of the children of Kuwaiti women married to non-Kuwaitis, in cooperation with the ministers of Interior and Health. It also endorsed the demand of the Youth and Sports Committee chairman to extend the deadline given to a panel tasked to investigate factors leading to Kuwait’s suspension from international events for another three months.
However, it rejected the request of MP Yousef Al-Zalzalah to take measures against ministers who do not comply with internal bylaws on parliamentary questions. MP Adel Al-Kharafi then adjourned the discussion until Wednesday to pave way for the Parliament delegation session to elect its members. MP Faisal Al-Shaye was elected custodian of the delegation beating his rival MP Abdullah Al-Mayouf with 28 votes to 23. MP Auda Al-Ruwaie was elected secretary and Hamoud Al-Hamdan as treasurer while the members include MPs Saud Al-Hareeji, Abdullah Al-Turaiji, Khalai Abdullah and Rakan Al-Nisf
By Abubakar A. Ibrahim Arab Times Staff