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Need to address population gap, health & jobs
KUWAIT CITY, March 30: The National Assembly continued deliberations on the program of the government for fiscals 2021/2022 to 2024/2025 in its ordinary session Wednesday. During the discussion the MPs stressed the need to address urgent and vital issues like education, health, housing, employment and demographic imbalance. MP Bader Al-Humaidi said the Silk City project, which has been in the government program since 2007, is a big lie. He pointed out this project remains in limbo and it has yet to be implemented even if the required budget is available. He added the government submitted another project – the development of Bubyan Island, which is still in the hands of the parliamentary Financial and Economic Affairs Committee for further study. So far, it has been found that the proposed projects should be established only on the periphery of the island because of the nature of its soil, he revealed.
He also underscored the need to address the demographic imbalance issue, especially since Kuwait has become a State for expatriates. He wondered how a government, which failed to develop roads and solve the demographic imbalance, will realize the Kuwait 2035 vision. MP Hamad Al-Matar highlighted the educational issue; quoting a statistical report stating that 51 percent of the students who are 10 years old can neither read nor write, while the skills of the 18-year-olds in Kuwait are the same as that of 13-year-olds in other countries.
He added the educational output does not match the huge budget allocated for this sector. He criticized the prevalence of cheating in exams, asserting this phenomenon has become a norm. He called for requiring secondary school graduates to take national exams before pursuing university studies, as well as conducting the licensure examination for teachers to improve the quality of education.
MP Hassan Jawhar said the program consists of fl ashy headlines and ambitious objectives, yet it lacks the required legislation and the government seems not keen on ratifying such laws. He thinks the program is outside the scope of reforming State institutions, warning that the program will not be implemented unless these institutions are developed. He stressed the need to implement rules on good governance, so the program does not change every time the government is reshuffl ed.
He said he had earlier submitted a comprehensive program covering important issues like education, housing, employment and health. He disclosed the program consists of 40 recommendations, half of which are on finding alternative sources of national income. MP Shuaib Al-Muwaizri thinks the program is a replica of what the successive governments have submitted over the last 20 years. He attributed the budget deficit to mismanagement of national affairs, not the oil price decline. He said the State spent around KD 23 billion on infrastructure and road development projects in the last 10 years, yet the infrastructure could not endure one day of rainfall.
MP Abdullah Al-Turaiji affirmed the program has many positive aspects, but the most important aspect is implementation. He emphasized the significance of addressing vital issues; such as demographic imbalance, citizenship, visa trafficking, and speedy implementation of the decision to impose death penalty on theose convicted of drug trafficking. MP Muhammad Al-Hewaila pointed out the program lacks deadlines, certain procedures and legislation. He stressed the importance of addressing economic issues starting with reforming the Touristic Enterprises Company, Kuwait Airways Corporation and Kuwait Public Transportation Company. MP Abdullah Al-Mudaf called for specifying deadlines and budget defict, while stressing the need to adopt a plausible program.
Meanwhile, the Assembly moved to the discussion of MPs queries as follows: MP Hesham Al-Saleh asked the interior minister about the number of citizenship withdrawal cases. He hopes the judiciary will look into the plight of those suffering from injustice. ·MP Hassan Jawhar asked the same minister about the action taken against the concerned senior officials at the State Security General Department who were accused of leaking footages. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Oil and Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs Muhammad Al-Fares responded to the questions of MP Bader Al-Mullah, affirming he is keen on Kuwaitizing the oil sector and that he has taken the necessary steps to fully Kuwaitize the Legal Affairs Department.
MP Mubarak Al-Hajraf asked Minister of Finance Abdulwahab Al- Rashid about the legal basis of the Touristic Enterprises Company (TEC) in signing contracts with international companies to develop its touristic facilities. Al-Rashid responded that he cannot accept the deterioration of TEC, indicating he issued a directive on the formation of a fact-finding committee to investigate the issue. He added the new board of directors of the company will be formed soon.
MP Hamdan Al-Azmi asked Minister of Information and Culture Hamad Rouhaldeen about the concert held at a hotel in Mangaf towards the end of 2021. He called for limiting such events, in light of the religious and social traditions of the country; wondering what could be the benefits from hiring a singer to perform in Kuwait. Rouhaldeen then replied, affirming such events are allowed in general. He was quick to point out that the ministry usually assigns inspectors to monitor these events in order to make sure no one engages in immoral activities. MP Abdullah Al-Mudaf asked Minister of Justice Jamal Al-Jalawi about the action taken against those who admitted involvement in money laundering cases. By Saeed Mahmoud Saleh Arab Times Staff