KUWAIT CITY, Jan 31: The National Assembly Office has approved the resignation of Secretary General of the Assembly Allam Al-Kandari, affirming this will not affect the work of the committee tasked to investigate incidents in the inaugural session of the legislature. The Office assigned Assistant Secretary General Adel Al-Lughani as acting Secretary General. Al-Kandari submitted his resignation in line with Amiri Decree No. 3/2021 on the termination of senior officials with the rank of minister who completed their term.
Meanwhile, MP Shuaib Al-Muwaizri disclosed in a press statement that he will not attend the session slated for the constitutional oath taking of the new government. He pointed out it is unconstitutional that the new government is chaired by Sheikh Sabah Al-Khalid, considering the latter resigned after the submission of a grilling motion against him.
He asserted Sheikh Sabah Al-Khalid should not have been assigned to form the new government in view of the grilling motion. He asked his colleagues to recall what happened in 1964 when the then MPs did not attend a similar session, so the new government at the time was unable to take its oath and then it resigned. He added the then Assembly Speaker Abdulaziz Al-Saqr submitted his resignation to HH the late Amir Sheikh Abdullah Al-Salem but the latter did not approve it.
Stressing that he has no intention to seek heroism or create troubles, Al-Muwaizri said Sheikh Sabah Al- Khalid went against public will, and that the latter was biased in the election of the speaker and formation of parliamentary committees. On the other hand, Education, Culture and Guidance Affairs Committee on Sunday discussed the reports of the State Audit Bureau (SAB) and Financial Controllers Bureau (FCB) on the budget of Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences (KFAS). Committee Chairman MP Hamad Al-Matar confirmed the attendance of acting KFAS Chairperson Dr Samira Sayyed Omar and some senior officials of KFAS, adding that interim Minister of Education and Higher Education Dr Ali Fahd Al-Mudaf apologized for his absence.
Al-Matar said the reports highlighted a big number of violations; some of which are financial in nature such as granting allowance to consultants without the approval of the Civil Service Commission (CSC) and others are administrative like the failure to fill senior positions which have been vacant for a long time. He added only 80 present of employees at KFAS are Kuwaitis, indicating that FCB did not approve 186 requests of KFAS — the largest number of requests rejected by FCB at the level of public institutions. He went on to say that KD 458,000 was paid to expatriate consultants at KFAS in fiscal 2018/2019 and KD 371,000 in fiscal 2019/2020; hence, the need for the concerned incoming minister to ensure there is no such expenditure in the next fiscal year.
He pointed out that Kuwait has enough number of researchers in all fields, so these researchers must take the chance to develop KFAS and replace the expatriate consultants. Moreover, the Budgets and Final Accounts Committee on Sunday met the representatives of SAB. Chairman of the committee MP Badr Al-Mullah said the panel held 12 meetings since the beginning of this parliamentary term; four of which are with SAB. During Sunday’s meeting, the committee discussed the budget-related violations that SAB recorded from fiscal 1999/2000 to 2011/2012 which have yet to be settled. He said they agreed to forward a letter to the Assembly on referring this issue to the Public Funds Protection Committee and the latter should submit its report within two months, Al-Mullah narrated.
He affirmed the committee finalized discussions on budgets in fiscal 2019/2020, including the comments on employment and financial strategy of the State. According to SAB, the total debt that the government needs to collect has reached KD1.6 billion – six percent higher than the previous fiscal year. The Ministry of Finance confirmed it is ready to classify the debts from 2009 as per the due dates and then take the necessary steps to collect payments, he added. He went on to say that the committee completed discussions on the budgets of Ministry of Education and Higher Education, Ministry of Public Works, and Public Authority for Roads and Transportation (PART). He disclosed the discussion on the budget of the Foreign Affairs Ministry was postponed because of the low representation of the ministry in committee meetings, clarifying the committee had earlier reached an agreement to discuss the budgets of any ministry only if the concerned minister or at least the undersecretary is present.
In addition, MP Badr Al-Dahoum received information that interim Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Sheikh Hamad Jaber Al-Ali issued a decision to suspend the deal to import drones – a decision which contradicts the recommendation of the concerned committee. He found out that the suspension of the deal is in favor of the agent of a Chinese company, so he warned the interim minister against pushing ahead with such an erroneous decision. MPs Osama Al-Shaheen submitted a bill on establishing a company owned by the Public Institution for Social Security (PIFSS) which will grant loans to retirees according to Islamic Law.
By Saeed Mahmoud Saleh Arab Times Staff