‘Most posts filled by wasta’; Speaker seeks clarifications

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Set up KCCI, MPs submit bill

KUWAIT CITY, Aug 24: MPs Hassan Jawhar, Muhannad Al-Sayer, Mehalhal Al-Mudhaf, Abdullah Al- Mudhaf and Soud Al-Asfour have submitted a bill, consisting of 69 Articles, on the establishment of Kuwait Chamber for Commerce and Industry (KCCI). According to the bill, KCCI is a legal non-profit organization with independent budget and administration. It is under the supervision of the Minister of Commerce and Industry. It has the right to own cash and assets, accept donations and grants, and sell or rent out any of its properties. It is covered by this law and Law No. 24/1962. KCCI is banned from engaging in political activities or providing direct or indirect support to any political bloc or politicians in and outside Kuwait.

The tasks of KCCI include pushing for economic development, protecting the rights of its members, conducting studies and researches to support the Fahd Al-Shula Al-Qarawi Zelensky State’s development strategies, improving competitiveness, combating monopoly, laying down commercial rules and practices, representing its members in local and international events as well as international and regional chambers of commerce, analyzing and explaining the relevant laws, providing commercial consultants, and organizing and participating in local, regional and international commercial exhibitions. KCCI is allowed to establish schools, institutes and training centers to produce the manpower that businesses need.

It provides services for the settlement of commercial disputes and establishes commercial arbitration centers governed by the relevant national and international laws. It also provides public institutions with information about the prices of main commodities if the need arises. The General Assembly of KCCI members should meet once a year and the chairman should send invitations 30 days before the Assembly date. The Board of Directors consists of 12 elected members with a tenure of 14 years. The board chairman and members can contest the elections once their current term ends without limiting the number of terms. In case the number of board members decreased to seven for any reason, the board is considered dissolved and its chairman is elected. The chairman or his deputy represents KCCI in courts and other institutions.

The Executive Office can delegate this job to any of the board members and KCCI employees. The Board of Directors specifies the strategies and regulations of KCCI in accordance with the relevant law, approves the annual budget and final account before presenting them to the General Assembly, it should meet eight times a year minimum, the quorum for the meeting is half of the members including the chairman. The Executive Office must execute the decisions and strategies of the board, which must form committees through elections among its members or that of the General Assembly.

KCCI has the authority to collect the annual subscription fee from its members, but it is not allowed to collect any other fees from the members. The Board of Directors specifies the subscription fee. The fiscal year of the chamber is from Jan 1 to Dec 31. The Ministry of Commerce and Industry shall draft the executive regulations for this bill within 30 days of its publication in Kuwait Gazette. It shall announce the period for receiving applications to join KCCI within 60 days of ratifying this bill. The members should pay a registration fee of KD30, and then KD20 per year. The ministry shall specify the date for electing members of the first KCCI Board of Directors.

Meanwhile, the Secretariat General of the National Assembly has handed over to the Ministry of Interior the ballots of the parliamentary election held on June 6, 2023. This step was taken after the issuance of verdicts on appeals against the election results filed at the Constitutional Court. A total of 759 ballots and the minutes of vote counting were forwarded to the Secretariat General; consisting of Ali Qassem, Yousef Al-Azmi, Husain Al-Eidan and Captain Abdulrazzaq Al-Zaid. Representative of the Elections General Department at Ministry of Interior Husain Muhammad Al-Ajmi received the ballots.

On the other hand, MP Marzouq Al-Hebeini asked Minister of Public Works Amani Bugamaz about the number of tenders floated by her ministry for the maintenance of roads, number of participating companies, local agents of these companies if any, if these companies previously carried out maintenance works in the country, if they committed violations at the time, if they were punished for these violations, amount of variation orders if any, and value of offers compared to the estimated budget.

Assembly Speaker Ahmad Al-Sa’adoun asked Deputy Prime Minister, State Minister for National Assembly and Cabinet Affairs Essa Al-Kandari about the press statement of former HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak in 2013 about the alleged problem in the administrative system. The latter was quoted as saying: “Most senior administrative positions are filled based on ‘wasta’ (influence), not competence.”

Al-Sa’adoun also cited the statement of HH the former Prime Minister in the session held on April 13, 2016 when he stressed the need for the government to overcome the difficult phase and take pro-reform steps to ensure the implementation of development projects. The speaker requested for the list of senior officials appointed through ministerial decisions or decrees, members of the boards of directors in public institutions and companies who were appointed during the tenure of Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak specifying those who were appointed through ‘wasta’ and those appointed based on competence, and steps taken by the former premier to rectify this error. In addition, Al-Sa’adoun congratulated Speaker of the Council of States Jagdeep Dhankhar and Speaker of the House of People of India Om Birla on the successful landing of Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft near the south pole of the moon. By Saeed Mahmoud Saleh Arab Times Staff

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