Minister acts against plans to increase meat prices

Minister Mohammad Al-Jabri

KUWAIT: Minister of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs and Minister of State for Municipal Affairs Mohammad Al-Jabri condemned a number of livestock importing companies which announced intentions to increase the prices of meat before Ramadan. The companies have reportedly signed an agreement with each other calling for a collective increase of prices; something that the minister described as ‘tampering with food security’ in Kuwait. Accordingly, Jabri announced taking very strict measures against all companies that had signed the agreement, and that in order to prevent them from going ahead with their plans. “Manipulating food security is a crime that will not go unaccounted for,” he underlined, noting that a special committee had been formed to follow up and verify the authenticity of leaked news about the agreement. He also noted that any company to be discovered to have signed the alleged agreement would be subject to severe penal measures.

Projects
The Ministry of Public Works (MPW) is supervising the construction of various projects  including a new maternity hospital and the Jahra ministries complex with a total cost of KD 569 million, MPW Undersecretary Engineer Awatif Al-Ghuanim said yesterday. The new maternity hospital would be located over an area of 55,000 square meters, Ghunaim said, adding that it would include 780 beds, 27 operating theaters, 60 labor rooms, a basement and 18 floors. She added that the project’s total cost would be KD 220 million. Further, Ghunaim explained that the new ministries’ complex in Jahra would be located west of the Oyoun area, and would comprise of nine floors and four basements used for parking. She added that the building would also include a stage with 500 seats, a training center, bank branches, cafes and some commercial stores. The project’s total cost will be KD 348 million. Projects to develop Yarmouk, Qotoba, Surra and Jleeb Al-Shuyiukh’s infrastructure were still being studied, Ghunaim added.

Privatization
Minister of Electricity and Water and Minister of Oil Essam Al-Marzouq stressed Kuwait’s keenness on protecting its natural resources and making the best use of them through regulating privatization programs and operations. He also noted that oil exploration, production and refinement had been exempted from activities that might be privatized. Upon its foundation, each oil company has a main activity for which it was established and upon which each company’s vision is set.

“However, there are some side and secondary activities,” he underlined. Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) has a number of proposals on activities the private sector can take part in, he said, noting that this would help KPC focus more on its main role, and contribute in improving the private sector and activating its role in developing the oil sector. Marzouq also noted that 80 gas stations had been already privatized, including 40 that are currently operate by Oula Company and 40 operated by Al-Sour company.

Panel meetings
The parliament’s legislative committee is scheduled to look into a request made to lift the immunity of three lawmakers this morning, said parliamentary sources. The three MPs are Jamaan Al-Harbash, Nayef Al-Merdas and Ahmad Al-Fadhl, who are being prosecuted in law cases. Meanwhile, the committee will discuss two proposals on amending law number 2/2016 pertaining with establishing the Public Anti-Corruption Authority, and the financial statement disclosure regulations.
The sources also noted that the parliament’s financial affairs committee will discuss proposed amendments of the Amiri decree law number 61/1976 pertaining with the social security law, though it has exceeded the time allotted for discussion because the government had not responded to MPs’ views and insisted on refusing any compromises on the matter. The the government refused reducing the retirement age, imposing any financial increments on salaries or cancelling the interests on loans because that would jeopardize the budget of the Public Institution For Social Security, the sources explained.

By A Saleh

This article was published on 18/03/2017