By B Izzak and A Saleh
KUWAIT: Opposition MP Riyadh Al-Adasani said yesterday that lawmakers will strongly oppose any plan by the government to impose taxes or privatize public services, saying the country fiscal position is sound. The lawmaker said the position of the Kuwaiti economy is strong and this fact has been repeatedly confirmed by international rating agencies including Moody’s which has recently affirmed Kuwait’s strong fiscal position.
Adasani criticized repeated government attempts to draw a different picture by showing as if the state is facing a chronic budget deficit and the public wage bill is too high as if citizens are becoming a burden on the budget. He insisted that the government is the side responsible for the distortions in the budget.
The lawmaker said that international reports have affirmed on the strength of the Kuwaiti economy because of low public debt levels, the state’s financial resilience based on large assets in the sovereign wealth fund and billions of dollars in surpluses.
He stressed that those who propagate that the state is on the verge of going bankrupt whether from within or outside the government aim at helping to approve the public debt law, add more financial burdens on the state , help in the privatization of public sectors and impose taxes. Adasani said he and lawmakers will oppose privatization and taxes, saying these plans will never be accepted, adding that all the government needs is rational management to overcome all financial difficulties.
Meanwhile, MP Thamer Al-Suwait yesterday criticized National Assembly Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanem for accepting to place on the assembly agenda a controversial draft law for public amnesty. Opposition MPs had submitted a separate draft law calling to grant pardon to former opposition MPs and activists who were jailed for several years for storming the national assembly building during a protest in 2011. Most of the ex-MPs and activists had fled the country and have been living in self-exile abroad.
But head of the legislative committee MP Khaled Al-Shatti combined two other draft laws calling to grant a similar amnesty to members of the Iran-linked cell who were handed hefty jail terms and others. Suwait said it was not proper for the assembly speaker to accept the draft law after combing them, adding that the amnesty bill was intended to cover the former opposition activists. The draft law is expected to be debated tomorrow.
The government, who is against the bill, meanwhile justified its rejection by saying that this will be considered as interference by lawmakers, which is a clear violation of the principle of separation of power stipulated in articles 50 and 163 of the constitution. Represented by the Supreme Judiciary Council, Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Interior, the government rejected a report by the parliamentary legislative affairs committee demanding an amnesty for those indicted for breaking into the National Assembly, members of the Abdaly cell and those involved in opinion-related cases.
The Supreme Judiciary Council explained that the three proposals demand full amnesty for people already indicted and sentenced in certain cases, adding that the crimes involved are extremely dangerous for state security and once a suspect is indicted and sentenced, the verdict must be implemented to deter others.