Subsidy cuts won’t affect low-income citizens: Omair

KUWAIT: The National Assembly bureau announced yesterday that it will meet with the economic committee of the Supreme Planning Council on Wednesday and with the minister of finance and a team from his ministry on Sunday to discuss the issue of reducing subsidies on commodities and services. The announcement came after a meeting of the Assembly bureau chaired by speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanem, which comes ahead of a scheduled Assembly debate to study government plans to reduce or lift subsidies on public services and commodities.

Minister of Public Works and State Minister for National Assembly Affairs Ali Al-Omair said that any reduction in subsidies will not affect low-income people, adding that a discussion is ongoing about the issue. He said that the debate over the issue is focused on the best means to stop squandering of public funds and to rationalize expenditures. The minister said that the Cabinet and the Supreme Planning Council discussed the issue on Wednesday and approved certain measures and solutions.
The proposed solutions will not undermine the interests of low-income people, adding that the proposed solutions will be acceptable to all and that it will have no negative impact on citizens. The minister said that the meeting discussed specifically subsidies on petrol, electricity and water.

Meanwhile, local Arabic daily Al-Anbaa said the Cabinet will study subsidies during its weekly meeting today and authorities have recommended raising the price of petrol by around 40 percent. According to the proposals, the price of low-grade petrol will be raised from 60 fils a litre to 85 fils and high-grade petrol will be sold for 90 fils a litre instead of 65 fils. The government has however vowed not to take any action on subsidies before discussing the issue with the Assembly.

In another development, MP Abdullah Al-Turaiji called on the interior minister to deport Iraqi singer Hatem Al-Iraqi who has been invited to take part in the Hala February festival. Turaiji said that the singer is known to have praised former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, who ordered Iraqi troops to invade Kuwait in 1990, and has sang songs to praise Yemen’s Houthi rebels against whom Kuwait is fighting along with Saudi Arabia. The lawmaker criticized Information Minister Sheikh Salman Al-Humoud Al-Sabah for granting the permission for the entry of the Iraqi singer. He however added that the minister had promised that the singer’s concert will not be telecast live by Kuwait TV.

Also, MP Abdullah Al-Maayouf lashed out at Minister of Justice and Islamic Affairs Yaqoub Al-Sane claiming that the minister has exploited his posts to appoint his supporters in key posts in the two ministries. The lawmaker accused the minister of making politically-motivated appointments to boost his electoral position as he is an elected MP included in the Cabinet. Maayouf threatened to grill the minister if he does not stop such appointments and urged the Cabinet to investigate the matter.

By B Izzak

This article was published on 31/01/2016