2035 vision to create 200,000 jobs –  MPs demand amnesty for Assembly stormers

KUWAIT: First Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Sheikh Nasser Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah speaks during a parliamentary session at the National Assembly yesterday. — KUNA

KUWAIT: Deputy Premier and Defense Minister Sheikh Nasser Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah said yesterday that Kuwait’s 2035 vision with all the projects it includes is expected to create 200,000 jobs. The vision envisages a large number of development projects with a special focus on the Silk City and islands mega development projects, which are expected to cost hundreds of billions of dollars. Speaking during the assembly debate of the government program, Sheikh Nasser stressed that the program also focuses on fighting corruption and protecting public funds.

The program calls for improving the business environment and for encouraging the private sector, in addition to boosting achievements in the e-government project. Secretary General of the Supreme Planning Council Khaled Al-Mahdi said the program stipulates to train government civil service staff to make them more efficient, economic development and developing the northern islands.

But MP Ali Al-Deqbasi said he doubts that the inefficient government staff will be able to carry out the development program, saying that part of the staff is “paralyzed”. MP Adel Al-Damkhi said the private sector will not be able to contribute because it is monopolized by certain people. MP Saleh Ashour said after the 1991 liberation, “we have been hearing about mega projects, but it appears that nothing major has changed”, adding that the private sector cannot develop projects because it is unable to develop itself. He also said that there can be no real development without guaranteeing public freedoms, which have been deteriorating in the country.

MP Saadoun Hammad said cancer is spreading rapidly in the country and the government has not built enough medical centers for treatment. He also said the stoppage of production from the neutral zone oilfields with Saudi Arabia is costing Kuwait some $6 billion annually. MP Jamaan Al-Harbash called for changing the election system in Kuwait to adopt a multi-party system so the prime minister is elected and supported by a parliamentary majority.

Meanwhile, 24 MPs expressed their support yesterday for a draft law calling to grant amnesty to all the activists who were jailed for storming the National Assembly in Nov 2011. The lawmakers said their call is in line with the constitution, which regulates general amnesties for prisoners. The court of cassation, whose rulings are final, is due to issue its verdict in the case on May 6. The criminal court had acquitted all the 70 defendants, but the appeals court handed 67 of them harsh sentences, suspended jail terms on two and dropped the case against one because of his death.

By B Izzak