Law key to attract foreign investment

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MP urges pro-active approach to investors

KUWAIT CITY, Dec 6: Business Environment Improvement Committee Chairman MP Abdulwahab Al-Essa disclosed that the panel met on Tuesday to discuss the factors leading to the minimal entry of foreign investments to the country with representatives of Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA) and Kuwait Direct Investment Promotion Authority (KDIPA). He said they agreed on the need for new legislation to address the issue and encourage foreigners to invest in the country. He added the committee discovered that the role of KDIPA is limited to license issuance, plot allocation, and assisting foreign investors in obtaining tax exemption.

He emphasized the need to take a number of steps in order to attract foreign investors; such as preparing the required infrastructure, carrying out feasibility studies, and conducting presentations for investors in different countries. He added KDIPA must approach the foreign investors in order to present to them the available investment opportunities supported with feasibility studies, instead of sitting in the office to wait for investors. He pointed out the foreign investors are fully aware that the Kuwaiti market is limited, so KDIPA and KIA must present feasibility studies to convince them that the investments here are profitable. He added the neighboring countries have already taken these steps, so they have greatly contributed to the growth of the international investment market.

Meanwhile, MP Soud Al-Khanfour asked all ministers if they have completed the lists of employees eligible for leave encashment and causes of delay if the answer is ‘no’. He requested for a copy of the executive regulations on the encashment of the unused leave days of employees and if there have been complaints in this regard. He added Minister of Finance Abdulwahab Al-Rashead issued a statement on Oct 25, 2022; confirming that the government is keen on expediting the implementation of Decree No, 81/2022 amending Article 41 of Civil Service Law No. 4/1979 to allow public sector employees to convert their unused leave days to cash.

He added the minister also announced on Dec 4, 2022 that the ministries and other public institutions must submit the lists of employees who are eligible for leave encashment. MP Hamdan Al-Azmi asked Minister of Social Affairs and Community Development and State Minister for Women and Children Affairs Mai Al-Baghli about the number of wedding halls that are still closed despite the end of the Covid- 19 crisis, and reason for transferring the management of wedding halls owned by cooperative societies from the cooperatives to the Community Development Department at the Ministry of Social Affairs considering the shareholders’ money was used in establishing these wedding halls. He wants to know the improvements since the transfer of management if any and if the revenues have increased so far.

MP Adel Al-Damkhi forwarded queries to Minister of Defense Sheikh Abdullah Ali Al-Salem Al-Sabah about the reports published on the United States Department of Defense (DOD) websites regarding the possible deal with the Kuwaiti Army to design and establish the new ministry headquarters at a cost of $1 billion. He asked if the ministry surveyed the buildings, sites and infrastructure in order to lay down a plan for the expansion and upgrading project. If yes, he requested for copies of the surveys. If no, what are the reasons for not doing the surveys?

He also asked if the ministry floated tenders through the relevant department as per Amiri Decree No. 15/1969 and ministerial Decision No. 1467/2007; if the deal is included in the 2022/2023 budget; if the State Audit Bureau (SAB), Financial Controllers Bureau (FCB), Legal Advice and Legislation Department, and Council of Ministers approved the memorandum signed by the ministry and DOD; and rationale behind the decision to put the design and construction of the new headquarters in one deal, considering it violates Article 39 of Public Tenders Law No. 49/2016 and Article 54 of the Decree No. 95/2017 that stipulates the formation of a committee to oversee the bidding and implementation procedures for the procurement of military equipment and execution of military constructions. By Saeed Mahmoud Saleh Arab Times Staff

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