Expats Family Visa Suspension Under Scrutiny By Business Committee

Parliament flags Recruitment Violations and Transparency Demands

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KUWAIT CITY, Nov 27: Chairman of the Parliamentary Budgets and Final Accounts Committee MP Osama Al-Zaid disclosed that the representatives of the Civil Service Commission (CSC) recently discussed the comments of the CSC on the recruitment procedures in ministries and their subsidiaries. Al-Zaid said the CSC recorded a total of 1,222 violations; 1,133 of which have yet to be addressed, asserting this is unacceptable. He added that 393 violations were recorded against public institutions and their subsidiaries, 104 of which have yet to be addressed. He was quick to clarify that some public institutions are committed to the recruitment regulations. He revealed that the number of recorded violations committed by ministries include 644 by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry; 331 by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; 75 by the Ministry of Electricity, Water and Renewable Energy; and 35 by the Public Authority for Agriculture Affairs and Fish Resources (PAAAFR). He confirmed that the committee asked the abovementioned institutions to address the violations, especially those resulting in the illegal payment of cash to certain officials. He made it clear that any institution, that does not correct its violations will be subjected to budget-related decisions. He said a big percentage of the violations include the illegal disbursement of allowances and privileges to the undeserving.

The lawmaker went on to say that the committee found a large number of vacant leadership positions, which require the issuance of special decrees to fill up these posts. He warned that the designation of acting officials, who hold leadership positions for a long time, has negative consequences such as the delayed issuance of urgent decisions. “This happens because the acting official is afraid that the decision he makes might be wrong and lead to his dismissal. Some acting officials tend to cooperate with corrupt parties to obtain certain advantages and privileges,” he revealed.

According to Al-Zaid, the committee is keen on determining the powers granted to the CSC; as it seems such powers are unclear, up to the extent that the CSC issues exceptional decisions concerning recruitment. He cited as an example the attitude of CSC regarding the recruitment procedures, indicating that the Ministry of Education has asked the CSC to appoint a number of officials like the chairpersons of educational districts. He said the CSC replied in 12 pages; explaining that all the nominees did not meet the requirements, so it did not approve the nomination. He added that the CSC later issued a one-page decision to exempt all the nominees from the conditions and approved all of the nominations. He said this example shows that some of the CSC’s decisions are taken whimsically rather than being committed to the regulations. He was quick to stress the fact that the abovementioned decisions were issued in 2017 and 2018, which means they were issued during the term of the previous CSC officials. He emphasized that correcting the path requires the enhancement of transparency, calling for publishing the minutes of the CSC meetings to be available to ordinary citizens. He said the people’s monitoring is essential to deter any senior official from committing violations.

On the other hand, MP Majed Al- Mutairi has forwarded queries to Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of State for National Assembly and Cabinet Affairs Essa Al- Kandari; considering the Amiri Diwan oversees the establishment of major projects including the new Justice Palace. Al-Mutairi requested information about the achievement rate of the Justice Palace project, copies of the relevant contracts showing the total value, the name of the contractor, and the completion date for each phase of the project. He wants to know the variation orders and their value if any, if any observations have been recorded by the relevant monitoring institutions, and if they have been addressed. He demanded copies of all correspondences between the Amiri Diwan and monitoring institutions like SAB, Legal Advice and Legislation Department, Ministry of Finance, and Central Agency for Public Tenders to assign the Amiri Diwan to oversee the project; comments recorded by SAB if any; if they were corrected or not; and if the project includes an extension of construction phases and the estimated cost of such extension.

In another development, 20 incoming letters were included in the agenda of the ordinary session scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday as follows:
Request of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for National Assembly and Cabinet Affairs Essa Al-Kandari for the Parliament to approve Kuwait joining the GCC agreement to impose tax on harmful commodities;
Request of MP Mehalhal Al-Mudhaf to assign the Human Resources Development Committee to investigate the manipulation of procedures for hiring national workers in private companies to waive off obligating the private sector to recruit a certain number of national workers;
• Request the Business Environment Improvement Committee to assign it to conduct a study on the consequences of the decision of the Ministry of Interior to suspend the issuance of family visas for expatriates working in the private sector;
Request a number of MPs to assign the Public Funds Protection Committee to follow up on the cases of the Kuwait Army Fund and overseas military offices, as well as to conduct field investigations in and outside Kuwait if necessary.

Meanwhile, the Budgets and Final Accounts on Monday discussed the report of SAB on the budget of the Ministry of Electricity, Water, and Renewable Energy for fiscal 2022/2023. Representatives of the Ministry of Electricity, Water and Renewable Energy, Ministry of Finance, SAB, Financial Controllers Bureau, and Central Agency for Public Tenders attended the meeting. In addition, the Public Funds Protection Committee discussed the Malaysian sovereign fund case with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sheikh Talal Khalid Al-Sabah, Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Salem Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Minister of Finance Fahd Al-Jarallah, Minister of Justice and State Minister for Housing Affairs Fahd Al-Raqabah, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for National Assembly and Cabinet Affairs Essa Al-Kandari, and representatives of the Legal Advice and Legislation Department, Central Bank of Kuwait and Financial Investigations Unit.

The Human Rights Protection Committee discussed the contribution of Kuwait in supporting the Palestinian issue, as well as the role of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in enhancing human rights in Kuwait through the National Council for Human Rights. They discussed the commitment of Kuwait to the enhancement of human rights as a member of the Human Rights Council. Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Salem Abdullah Al-Jaber Al-Sabah attended the meeting. The Health, Social and Labor Affairs Committee deliberated on bills regarding the establishment of the integrated health city; as the Assembly assigned the committee to discuss the problems related to the establishment of the health city. Representatives of the Public Institution for Social Security (PIFSS) and Kuwait Investment Authority, and senior officials at the Ministry of Health attended the meeting.

The Human Resources Development Committee discussed the bill on the establishment of a public authority for recruitment and labor affairs and its task to investigate the rising number of recruitment letters that public institutions send to SAB to nominate individuals for certain positions. The meeting was held in the presence of the representatives of SAB and the Public Authority for Manpower (PAM). Moreover, the Kuwaiti National Assembly sought to bolster its sovereignty rights internationally by submitting draft resolutions to global entities such as the Arab Parliament and others, MP Dr. Hamad Al-Matar said on Monday.

Speaking to Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) following the coordinative meeting for the GCC executive council at the sideline of the Asian Parliamentary Assembly (APA) in Ankara, MP Al-Matar stressed the importance of respecting Kuwait’s sovereignty over its land and marine borders. Al-Matar stated, “No one has the right to violate Kuwait’s sovereignty by word or deed either about the Khor Abdullah issue or Al-Durra offshore gas field”. Al-Matar said Kuwait’s National Assembly will always adhere to an important principle of not interfering in other countries’ internal affairs; therefore, all countries should also respect Kuwait’s sovereignty.

By Saeed Mahmoud Saleh
Al-Seyassah/Arab Times Staff and Agencies

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