Lawmaker criticizes planning council for failure to hire more Kuwaitis

KUWAIT: The government’s bid to have the value added tax (VAT) law passed by the parliament will not be the only option to resolve the state budget deficit and press ahead with economic reform as recommended by both the IMF and local economic committees, said official sources. The sources added that despite parliamentary objections, the government will work hard to have the VAT bill passed before June, adding that lawmakers will demand clear measures that would not affect citizens, including strict price controls to avoid unjustified price hikes such as those detected in Saudi Arabia and UAE.
The sources added the government is demanding another package of measures to resolve deficit problems including lifting subsidies on basic services and increasing fuel prices once more, especially since they are the cheapest in the GCC states. “Increasing fuel prices might take effect in one or two years,” stressed the sources, excluding the possibility of increasing electricity prices for the time being.

Recruiting expats
Chairman of the parliamentary budgets and final statements committee MP Adnan Abdulsamad said the committee discussed the final statement of the Secretariat General of Planning and Development for 2017-2018. Abdulsamad said the remarks made by the State Audit Bureau showed that the secretariat kept recruiting expats with excuses of the unavailability of Kuwaitis in the same field, while the Civil Service Commission (CSC) announced that it does not mind that government bodies advertise their needs of experts after its approval, thus opening the door to hiring citizens in those positions.

Hazard and pollution allowance
Kuwait Municipality plans to contact the Civil Service Commission (CSC) demanding the payment of hazard and pollution allowance to staff members working in the funerals department, said informed sources. They said that the municipality explained that those working outdoors in cemeteries are subject to various weather conditions including rain and floods in which they could drown or get electrocuted. The municipality also explained that these workers are subject to injuries if they get bitten or stung by snakes or scorpions.

Premarital checkups
Health Minister Sheikh Dr Basel Al-Sabah amended clause number 3 of law number 31/2008 pertaining premarital medical checkups. The amendments include filing checkup applications directly at MoH checkup centers instead of filing them at the justice ministry, provided one or both spouses are Kuwaitis.

Facilitated pilgrimage
The ministry of awqaf and Islamic affairs announced extending the time for Kuwaiti hajj convoys to apply for facilitated pilgrimage to Thursday, Feb 14. The ministry added that convoys allocated for bedoons would be declared later after Saudi authorities approve the ministry’s request.

Government Mall
Minister of Commerce and Industry and Minister of State for Services Affairs Khaled Al-Roudhan is scheduled to launch the Government Mall building in Qurain on Feb 18, said informed sources, noting that the mall will include offices of all ministries and government bodies to serve Mubarak Al-Kabeer residents.

By A Saleh