Panel looks into quotas for expats; Ghanem calls MPs for key meeting

KUWAIT: National Assembly Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanem speaks to the press yesterday. – KUNA

KUWAIT: The National Assembly’s financial and economic affairs committee yesterday reviewed several proposals on amending the demographic composition in the country, which is highly in favor of expatriates, the head of the committee said. MP Salah Khorshed said the panel reviewed a proposal calling to set a percentage cap or quotas for individual expatriate nationalities in the country, among several ideas to help amend the demographic structure.

But the committee took no decision because no minister attended the meeting, as the government is a caretaker Cabinet that can only take urgent decisions. He gave no details on the quotas or percentages, but MPs had in the past submitted proposals calling to impose a 10-percent cap on expat communities, meaning that the number of any particular community should not exceed 10 percent of the Kuwaiti population of just under 1.4 million.

This means that the largest number of any community should not exceed 140,000, a number that is already surpassed by several communities, led by Indians, who number close to one million; Egyptians, who top 700,000; in addition to Filipinos, Bangladeshis and others. Similar proposals had been submitted to previous national assemblies and were not approved.

Khorshed said the committee believes that demographic structure proposals are important to control the security situation in the country, adding that a number of specialists will be invited to future meetings to finalize the issue. The committee also discussed the legal status of the chamber of commerce and industry. Several lawmakers have called for introducing a law to govern its activities.

National Assembly Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanem meanwhile called MPs for an informal meeting tomorrow to convey a message from HH the Amir about the prevailing situation. Ghanem said he will convey the Amir’s message and called for unity in the country to face challenges, adding that regional developments are progressing at a fast pace “that require us to be wise and cautious”.

Tension between the government and MPs has soared after just one session in the new term of the National Assembly following a no-confidence motion against Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs and acting Information Minister Sheikh Mohammad Al-Abdullah Al-Sabah after a grilling. A large number of lawmakers declared their support for the motion, after which the government submitted its resignation and HH the Amir asked Prime Minister HH Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah to form the new Cabinet.

Lawmakers however have warned the premier against retaining several ministers in the new Cabinet, mainly Sheikh Mohammad, threatening that this could trigger a new crisis. A number of MPs yesterday reiterated their calls to the prime minister to adopt a new policy in forming the Cabinet by selecting capable and competent ministers.

By B Izzak


This article was published on 05/11/2017