Opposition lawmakers meet to discuss demands

KUWAIT: Twelve opposition awmakers yesterday met outside the parliament to discuss moves against the government if it fails to meet demands they intend to make public on Tuesday. Those demands include returning withdrawn citizenships, cancelling the law banning blasphemers from taking part in elections and cancelling the fuel and electricity price increases. Informed sources said the MPs included Mohammed Al-Mutair, Waleed Al-Tabtabaei, Jamaan Al-Harbash and Shuaib Al-Muwaizri, while others who had promised to attend the meeting sent regrets.

The sources added that the MPs agreed on the citizenship issue but failed to reach an agreement on the necessity of cancelling the blasphemy law, because it is already seconded by a majority of MPs. Thus, the lawmakers agreed to amend it and ban its retroactive implementation. The lawmakers also failed to agree on supporting MP Yousef Al-Fadhalah’s bid to grill His Highness the Prime Minister over alleged corruption at the Ministry of Health because it would be constitutionally rejected on grounds that such a motion ought to be made against the health minister. The added that accordingly, it was agreed to hold talks with the government to change some health ministry officials first, then form a committee to investigate the financial violations.

State revenues
Chairman of the parliamentary budgets and final statements committee MP Adnan Abdulsamad said total state revenues in the 2017-2018 budget will be around KD 13,324,000,000, with a 30 percent increase compared to the previous budget, because of the slight improvement in oil prices. He also noted that total expenditure would be around KD 20 billion with a five percent increase compared to the previous fiscal year’s budget, with a KD 7 billion deficit. Abdulsamad added that 10 percent of the revenues (KD 1.3 billion) would be deposited in the future generations reserve fund. Abdulsamad stressed that there was a lot of squandering, especially in some projects where the cost is getting dearer with sluggish pace of achievement.

Couple arrested
A bedoon (stateless) man with a long criminal record and a Gulf woman were arrested in Salwa after they raced through a checkpoint and tried to run over a policeman. Security sources said a police officer and a policeman were also injured when the suspect rammed their patrol car off the road and it turned over. The sources added that another patrol car chased the suspects and stopped them. Drugs were found in their possession and the vehicle they used was found to have been reported ‘wanted’.

Hajj coordination
The Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs started coordinating with Interior Ministry on the issuance of hajj and umrah visas soon after applying the conditions set by Saudi authorities, including changing the bedoons’ passport code as ‘non-Kuwaitis’ instead of ‘Kuwaitis’. The conditions also include mandating all hajj convoys not to leave Saudi Arabia until all their pilgrims leave, in addition to increasing the number of bedoon pilgrims by 8-10 in each convoy. Meanwhile, as head of this year’s hajj convoy, the manager of the the hajj affairs department Mohammed Nasser Al-Mutairi said that an integrated plan had been set for the coming season and that CTC had been contacted concerning the hajj convoys’ services contracts.

2 million tons
The Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC) offered a tender to purchase two million tons of fuel oil (furnace oil) to be delivered between April and June, including 1.21 tons to be delivered at Suez and Ain Sokhna ports and 792,000 tons to be delivered at Alexandria or Dekhailah ports. The Egyptian Refining Company (ERC) told agencies that it has been negotiating with various oil companies including KNPC, Aramco and Shell to import around 1.2 million tons of crude oil.

By A Saleh

This article was published on 01/03/2017