Tax decrees feared

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KUWAIT CITY, June 21: The objective in holding the special session of the National Assembly on Tuesday is to end the current parliamentary round as fast as possible, says Chairman of the parliamentary Budgets and Final Accounts Committee MP Bader Al-Mullah. He disclosed the government intends to issue a decree of necessity to implement the Public Loan Bill and other unpopular bills like the value added tax (VAT) and selective tax, away from the Assembly. He argued the purpose of Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanim in inviting the MPs and government to the special session – to ratify the general budget bill – is incorrect. He said the claim that the delayed approval of the general budget bill will affect the payment of salaries, suspend allowances, and delay the distribution of housing plots and overseas treatment is totally wrong.

He pointed out the bills on the previous general budgets were not approved before the fiscal year ended, yet none of the abovementioned services were suspended. He cited Article 145 of the Constitution, stating that the budget of the preceding fiscal year is implemented in case the bill on the budget of the current fiscal year is not approved. He went on to say that Minister of Finance and Minister of State for Economic and Investment Affairs Khalifa Hamada issued a circular on March 23, 2021 based on Article 145, in which he specified the manner of spending on development enterprises, salaries, scholarships, overseas treatment and new appointments according to the budget of the previous fiscal year or the estimated budget for the current fiscal year.

On the claim that the delayed approval of the budget will disrupt the launching of new development enterprises, he said Hamada informed the committee that there is no new enterprise in the budget for fiscal 2021 /2022. He revealed the circular issued by Hamada specified the way of spending on 403 existing enterprises. He added a report published by Al-Anba daily on May 14, 2018 quoted the government as saying that the new appointments are not linked with the approval of the budget. He explained the appointments are executed in four stages per year and this does not require the availability of job grades.

On the allegation that the committee delayed its report on the budget, he pointed out the committee recorded the highest number of meetings compared to others – 59 ordinary meetings, nine sub-meetings and seven meetings of its office. He said the representatives of Kuwait Credit Bank (KCB) had earlier informed the committee that there is no cash for housing loans, so the problem has nothing to do with the approval of budget as the required step is to provide cash. On the other hand, MP Abdullah Al-Turaiji urged his colleagues – who claimed that the special session will be held for the government to issue decrees of necessity on the implementation of VAT, selective tax and public loan bill – to attend the session in order to prove their claim or apologize. He said it is impractical to adopt the previous budget until the new budget is approved. By Saeed Mahmoud Saleh Arab Times Staff

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