By B Izzak
KUWAIT: Opposition MP Muhalhal Al-Mudhaf sent a series of questions to HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Sabah asking for details about Kuwait’s state assets including the future generations fund and the general reserve fund, both of which are managed by Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA). He demanded to know the value of the assets of the general reserve fund and future generations fund and crude oil reserves, in addition to real estate assets and the difference between the value of assets in March 2020 and March this year.
He also asked the prime minister the value of liabilities on the state, including construction projects, treasury bonds, arms purchases and others. The lawmaker also demanded to know the difference between the assets and liabilities and the geographic distribution of Kuwait’s investments abroad.
Mudhaf’s questions come after an Assembly session that was scheduled to discuss the state’s financial status on Thursday was cancelled after Cabinet ministers walked out of the meeting when opposition MPs occupied seats reserved for ministers. Finance Minister Khalifa Hamada was due to brief MPs about the figures of state reserves, which are kept confidential.
Following the session, the minister said in a statement that Kuwait’s official assets have posted unprecedented growth over the past 12 months, with assets in the future generations fund growing by as much as 33 percent between March 31, 2020 and March 31, 2021. Estimates have put the country’s total assets at close to $1 trillion.
The minister gave no figures because they are confidential, but based on an official document released by opposition MP Hasan Jowhar last month, the fund’s assets reached KD 159 billion on March 31 last year. This means that the assets have grown to KD 211.5 billion or $702 billion, the highest ever. The document also showed that assets in other state establishments like the Public Institute for Social Security (pension agency), Kuwait Petroleum Corp, Kuwait Fund for Arab Development, Credit Bank and others reached KD 59.5 billion on March 31 last year.
If those assets have also grown by the same percentage, their total on March 31 this year would be KD 78.8 billion or $261 billion. The minister however did not say by how much these assets have grown, but the social security institution had also announced unprecedented growth. This would put total assets of Kuwait at $963 billion, a record high and just short of the one trillion mark.
Meanwhile, opposition MP Hamdan Al-Azemi said yesterday he plans to file to grill HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah and Defense Minister Sheikh Hamad Jaber Al-Ali Al-Sabah over alleged violations. Azemi said he will file the two grillings at the beginning of the next term, scheduled to start in October, adding that the grilling of the defense minister will include agencies under his authority. He provided no details on the grilling of the prime minister.
Relations between the opposition lawmakers and the government were strained during the previous term which was closed on Thursday after Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanem and a minority of MPs assisted by 16 Cabinet ministers voted to delay grillings against the prime minister until the end of 2022. Opposition MPs have already filed three grillings against the prime minister over a variety of alleged violations, but none of them was debated due to the controversial Assembly decision, which the opposition insists is illegal.