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MP panel rejects imposition of expat remittance tax

KUWAIT CITY, Jan 29: The parliamentary Legislative and Legal Affairs Committee on Monday unanimously rejected the proposal to impose tax on remittances of expatriates because it is unconstitutional.

Some MPs had earlier presented the proposal which, they believe, would contribute about three percent to national income.

They argued the country has the right to collect this tax, especially since the remittances of expatriates are estimated at KD 15 billion per year.

Other MPs pointed out the proposal is illegal, as the tax amount is more than the Zakat (2.5 percent) which is collected once a year while the tax on remittances will be collected monthly.

They warned that this proposal, once implemented, will prompt expatriates to go through illegal channels to send money back home.

On the other hand, Committee Chairman MP Al-Humaidi Al-Subaie said the committee approved the following proposals:

■ Suspend implementation of verdicts until the Court of Cassation announces the final ruling,

■ Grant civil and social rights to Bedouns

■ Management of crises and disasters Al-Subaie added the committee disapproved the proposed amendment of the National Assembly’s rules of procedure which is related the Election Law; so the stipulation on criminalizing the acts of participating and organizing by-elections remains in effect.

The committee also rejected the request to lift the immunity of MP Ahmed Nabil Al-Fadel in a case filed by preacher Hajjaj Al-Ajmi. Furthermore, the Environment Committee on Monday discussed environmental issues with the director general of Environment Public Authority (EPA), his team and representatives of other concerned institutions.

Chairman of the committee MP Mohamed Al-Huwaila said they agreed on laying down the roadmap and work mechanism of the committee in its next meeting. He added that during Monday’s meeting, the committee tackled the report of some international universities on the progress of Kuwait in the environmental protection index — from 113th to 62nd.

In another development, MP Safa Al-Hashem disclosed the State Audit Bureau has reported about the financial and administrative violations in Touristic Enterprise Company (TEC). She forwarded questions to Minister of Finance Nayef Al-Hajraf, demanding for copies of decisions taken by the new president of the company to update its work plan, number of advisors appointed by the new president, justifications for their appointment, curriculum vitae of new consultants, their salaries and copies of their employment contracts. She asked if the new president has appointed an office manager and assistant director.

If yes, she wants to know their nationalities, work experience, qualifications and salaries. She also inquired about the validity of TEC’s contract with consulting companies, their number, competencies, roles, achievements and other details.

By Abubakar A. Ibrahim Arab Times Staff

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