Subsidy cuts looming as govt, Assembly to meet – Minister reassures MPs will be consulted

LONDON: HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah is welcomed as he arrives at Heathrow Airport yesterday to head the Kuwaiti delegation to the 4th international donors’ conference to support Syria and the region. — KUNA

LONDON: HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah is welcomed as he arrives at Heathrow Airport yesterday to head the Kuwaiti delegation to the 4th international donors’ conference to support Syria and the region. — KUNA

KUWAIT: The issue of cutting subsidies on commodities and services will take the driver’s seat in Assembly-government discussions next week as all looks set for a decision to raise the prices of petrol, electricity and water. State Minister for Cabinet Affairs Sheikh Mohammad Al-Abdullah Al-Sabah reiterated that the government will not take any measures on the issue before consulting the Assembly.

Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanem said the Assembly bureau will meet with the Supreme Planning Council’s economic committee on Sunday, instead of tomorrow, to discuss “rationalizing” subsidies on public services. The meeting will discuss planned government measures to deal with the budget deficit due to the drop in oil prices, Ghanem said. The Assembly will then discuss the issue on Feb 9 in an open meeting.

The speaker said that the plan to deal with the deficit is based on a comprehensive vision that can be implemented, adding that the Assembly will not accept harming low-income people under any future arrangements. Asked about proposals made by MPs about financial costs, Ghanem said that the concerned Assembly committees will study those proposals and the Assembly will take the final decision on them. The speaker said that the plan is to tackle legislation related to the judiciary in the month of March, adding that the Assembly is expected to debate a draft law on the multibillion-dinar Silk City project.

Meanwhile, a number of MPs yesterday criticized MP Saleh Ashour for threatening that nine MPs could resign over alleged discrimination. MP Faisal Al-Kandari said that Kuwaitis have lived together without any discrimination and those who want to resign can do so and others will replace them. Ashour complained in brief statements that his community was not being treated fairly and alleged discrimination in various aspects of life.

The nine MPs had boycotted Jan 27 session in what appeared to be a protest against verdicts passed on members of an Iran-linked cell, two of whom were sentenced to death and one was handed a life term. Nineteen of the remaining 23 members of the alleged cell were handed jail terms from two to 15 years while four were acquitted. The appeals court is scheduled to start hearing their case on Feb 17.

MP Majed Mousa also criticized Ashour and said if he wants to quit his Assembly seat, he can do so at any time. But MP Abdulhameed Dashti came to the defense of Ashour, saying that what he said was part of his right of freedom of expression. Dashti said Ashour’s remarks reflect his views on the presence of discrimination against his community.

In another case, liberal MP Rakan Al-Nasef called on the Assembly’s public funds defense committee to decide on corruption allegations against the CEO of Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA). Nasef said that if sufficient evidence was found against the KIA chief, he should be immediately referred to the public prosecution to launch an investigation.

By B Izzak


This article was published on 01/02/2016