Co-ops close pharmacies in protest of new law

KUWAIT: Kuwait Union for Consumer Cooperative Societies Chairman Meshaal Al-Sayyar announced co-ops had closed their pharmacies in protest over the new pharmacies law, which they deem as marginalizing the role played by co-ops. The government had released a new law in recent weeks requiring that all pharmacies operating within the vicinity of co-op societies must be owned by Kuwaiti nationals before they could be licensed, leaving many pharmacies operated by expatriate pharmacists with the risk of closing. Speaking following a meeting with various co-op heads, Sayyar strongly condemned the new pharmacies law, saying that it had been passed for the benefit of 68 pharmacists at the expense of over 800 citizens holding shares in co-ops. Sayyar explained co-ops and pharmaceutical companies have invested in pharmacies, which used to make good revenues for co-ops and shareholders, but the new law restricts and allocates pharmacies to Kuwaiti pharmacists who will only pay rent to the co-ops.

Meanwhile, well-informed sources said a meeting will be held next week between the Civil Service Commission (CSC) and Public Authority for Manpower to discuss implementing the new degree accreditation law and preventing the employment of employees who fail to procure accredited certificates, especially since the majority of ministerial staff who had not so far presented accredited certificates are expats. The sources added that expat teachers will be given a grace period till the end of this academic year or the end of the summer vacation at most to present accredited certificates to avoid termination. “Expat doctors will be graced three months to do the same,” said the sources, adding that expats working in other government bodies will have to pass special professional tests set by the CSC, otherwise they would be laid off.

In other news, a blackout hit the Ministry of Education’s headquarters and a number of other government buildings in South Surra yesterday resulting from a breakdown in a main power plant. Informed sources said most computers and lifts stopped working, and the education ministry allowed its employees to leave work and head home.

By A Saleh