KUWAIT CITY, March 17: National Assembly Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanim has confirmed being informed about the decision to refer him to Public Prosecution for violating health regulations while celebrating his victory in the 2020 parliamentary elections.
On the other hand, Rapporteur of the Parliamentary Priorities Committee MP Osama Al-Menawer disclosed that the government put the Public Loan Bill on its list of priorities, indicating it is unacceptable to grant a blank check for the government to borrow KD 20 billion payable in 20 years. He said the government did not explain the way of spending the loan and the mode of payment.
He revealed he does not agree on the launching of a new era in which Kuwait is subject to globalization, pointing out only Kuwait and another country have not borrowed from international financing institutions. He explained that depending on oil to pay the loan is not guaranteed because of the unstable oil prices and political conditions. He then asked: What if Bab Al-Mandab Strait is closed and prevents the exporting of oil? He warned the loan will be a major stab to the economy and it will damage the value of the national currency.
Meanwhile, the Budgets and Final Accounts Committee on Monday discussed the budget of the Public Authority for Applied Education and Training (PAAET) for fiscal 2021/2022 and the final accounts for fiscals 2018/2019 and 2019/2020. Chairman of the committee MP Badr Al-Mullah pointed out that the budget of PAAET reached KD323 million — 14 percent higher than the previous year.
Al-Mullah also stressed the need to fill the vacancies at PAAET as the number of students is increasing – around 54,0000 at present. He said the number of employees declined by 439 in the last four years while there are 297 teaching staff vacancies which should be filled with Kuwaitis. He disclosed the committee found out that some job advertisements are for specializations which do not exist, while other departments suffer shortage of lecturers and no advertisements in this regard were published. He called for more transparency in the publication of job advertisements.
He added the committee will meet later with Minister of Finance and Minister of State for Economic and Investment Affairs Khalifa Hamada in order to hear his justification for violating the relevant regulations which prevent transferring money from one item of the budget to another as it happened with PAAET. He said the overtime pay and summer course reward reached KD24 million and this requires more auditing, pointing out that the Financial Controllers Bureau (FCB) did not approve these expenditures due to violation of Civil Service Commission (CSC) regulations and the inclusion of supervisors to the beneficiaries of these incentives. He went on to say the committee noticed that PAAET has been floating tenders and signing contracts without consulting the Central Agency for Public Tenders (CAPT).
He revealed the violations included renewing the contract for a transportation company to transport students with a big increase in charges — from KD 27 to KD 40 per day. He pointed out PAAET was asked to provide the State Audit Bureau (SAB) with the needed documents concerning the violations in the scholarship program for students enrolled at the American University in Athens which is not accredited according to the verdict of a Kuwaiti court. He added the committee discussed the construction projects of PAAET such as the establishment of new branches of colleges and institutes in Sabah Al-Ahmad and Jaber Al- Ahmad areas to receive almost 15,000 students.
He clarified that although the designs have been completed, the execution is delayed and the new institutes were supposed to open in 2022 but this will not happen in light of the aforementioned circumstances. He said PAAET was given one month to address the comments of monitoring institutions; otherwise, its budget will not be approved.
In addition, the Housing Affairs Committee on Monday deliberated on a number of proposals submitted by MPs. Committee Chairman MP Fayez Al-Jomhour disclosed that the committee approved the proposal to reduce the price of plots granted to citizens in Khaitan from KD 15,000 to KD 5,000. He said the committee also approved the suggestion to cancel the condition which prevents the beneficiaries from exchanging plots among themselves; as well as the proposal to continue paying the rent allowance to citizens who received houses until the public services and facilities like electricity, water and others are connected to their houses.
MP Thamer Al-Suwait called on Minister of Interior Sheikh Thamer Ali Al-Sabah to refer himself to the Public Prosecution as the latter attended many meetings and occasions where health regulations were violated, including a funeral. Addressing the minister, he asked: “Who misled you by saying that what you are doing is decisive? It is foolishness and playing with fire.” Al-Suwait stressed that the lawmakers will not cooperate with the government.
By Saeed Mahmoud Saleh Arab Times Staff