Kuwait 39th happiest country in the world

KUWAIT: Kuwait ranked 39th worldwide and fourth amongst Arab countries in the World Happiness Report 2017, which was released yesterday. According to the report, the United Arab Emirates came first amongst Arab countries and 21st worldwide. The list of Arab countries include Qatar (35th worldwide), Saudi Arabia (37), Bahrain (41), Algeria (53), Libya (68), Jordan (74), Lebanon (88), Somalia (93), Tunisia (102), Egypt (104), Iraq (117), Sudan (130), Yemen (146) and Syria (152). In the latest report released by the UN’s Network for Sustainable Development, Norway has jumped from the fourth place in 2016 to the first place this year, followed by Denmark, which shows that Scandinavian countries are the happiest. Iceland, Switzerland, Finland, Holland, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Sweden round up the top ten, while South Sudan, Liberia, Guinea, Togo, Rwanda, Tanzania, Burundi and Central African republic came last on the index.

Inactive auditing
Chairman of the parliament’s budgets and final statements committee Adnan Abdul Samad said that the committee met yesterday and discussed Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development’s budget for the new fiscal year 2017-2018, and its final statement for the fiscal year ending 2015-2016, in addition to the State Audit Bureau and auditors reports about them. Abdul Samad stressed that the fund’s internal auditing department was still inactive even after hiring a company to develop it.

He added that the committee also stressed the significance of communicating with auditing bodies and the Civil Service Commissions (CSC) to reconsider the fund’s organizing regulations concerning excluding some employees from the fund’s payroll and appointing them with special contracts and higher incentives, health insurance, rewards and financial allowances. The committee also noted that despite the fall in the fund’s revenues and the fall of investments’ value by KD 166 million, investment fees paid to portfolio managers exceeded the limit to reach KD 4.5 million.

The committee also noted that despite recommendations made in 2011  to reassess the fund’s offices abroad in order to increase their effectiveness and have more control over them, the fund had closed down its office in Lebanon, had not activated its office in Bahrain and continued to have consultant companies in the loan-receiving countries supervise loans and grants instead of having the fund do such tasks. The committee also stressed the importance of giving more chance to newly graduating Kuwaiti engineers to join the fund’s training programs.

Forgiveness
After His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah gave orders to reinstate citizenships from some citizens whose citizenships were withdrawn, former president of Al-Youm TV Ahmad Al-Jabr AL-Shemmary yesterday dropped all cases he had filed against the government. He submitted an official waiver of all court sentences which had annulled the government’s decision to withdraw his citizenship. Commenting on his decision, Shemmari said that resting all cases highlights the culture of tolerance and forgiveness in the Kuwaiti society.

Huge number
Minister of State for Housing Affairs,Yasser Abul said that housing is a matter of social security and a major concern for all families in Kuwait. He added that the Public Authority for Housing Welfare managed to distribute 46,000 housing units in the past three years. “This is a huge number,” he underlined, pointing out that the authority currently faces three major challenges; time, meeting schedules and technical problems related to executing mega projects according to schedule and specific quality standards.

Further, Abul said that the authority would soon offer five investment opportunities according to the public-private-partnership (PPP) model for the first time in housing projects. he also noted that units in South Abdulla Al-Mubarak area would be ready for distribution as planned by July.

In addition, Abul said that the authority had distributed 550,000 units in Metlaa city until last November. He also noted that work is in progress in several residential areas in Metlaa, South Saad Al-Abdullah and South Sabah Al-Ahmad cities in addition to some future project such as Nawaf Al-Ahmed City (52,000 units), Al-Khairan City (35,000 units) and the Silk City (52,000 units).
Responding to a question whether the Kuwait Credit Bank could afford  future residential projects’ costs, Abul stressed that the bank has a budget of KD 3 billion and that it could resort to the state treasury if more was needed.

Technical committee
The Municipal Council’s technical committee, headed by Fahad Al-Sane, is scheduled today to discuss a request made by the defense ministry to allocate a site to build a new brigade in Jahra. The committee’s meeting agenda also includes requests made by the Ministry of Electricity and Water (MEW) to allocate the routes of overhead high voltage lines connected to Al-Shaqaya main plant. In addition, the committee will discuss the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) request to allocate a temporary helicopter landing site near Farwaniya hospital.

Important projects
The Ministry of Public Works (MPW) is set to sign two contracts today for two important projects: the KD 184 million Nuwaiseeb Road project, and a KD 700,000 project to build social care homes in Jahra. Minister of Public Works Abdelrahman Al-Mutawa is set to personally sign the contracts, Undersecretary Awatif Al-Ghunaim said in a press statement. Meanwhile, official sources at MPW said that the ministry had prepared an initial budget of KD 500 million to build two projects supporting the new airport project currently being built with total cost of KD 1.3 billion. The sources explained that MPW hopes to offer the two projects for public bidding within three months and that it is currently working on qualification measures for contractors to design and build a planes’ hanger and a parking lot.

By A Saleh

This article was published on 20/03/2017