Would be largest of its kind in the region – $112.5 billion allocated for 521 development projects
KUWAIT: The Ministry of Commerce and Industry asked Kuwait Municipality to allocate a plot to build a special ‘gold and jewelry city’ over a total area of 100,000 sq m, to be the largest of its kind in the region. The ministry’s letter to the municipality explained that municipality approval was needed so that the project could be included in the ministry’s development plan projects.
The ministry’s letter added that the city will include a building to administer precious metals and a parking for employees over an area of 10,000 sq m, in addition to special lounges for both local and imported jewelry, a hall for customer reception, a VIP hall, offices for 300 employees, an archive section, a central well-secure safe, safes in every section, labs for examining diamonds, laser labs, chemical labs and an employee training hall, in addition to parking spaces for 500 employees and 1,000 visitors.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Anas Al-Saleh said that the Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA) pays 25-100 percent of the capital of 51 companies headquartered in 16 Arab and foreign countries, including Kuwait. Responding to an inquiry filed by MP Mohammed Hayef, Saleh explained that KIA has up to 100 percent shares in 14 local companies, in addition to others in Egypt, Bahrain, Sudan, Yemen, Syria, Tunisia, Morocco, Mauritania, France, Pakistan, US, Bosnia, Malaysia, Spain, Britain, Mexico, Portugal and Holland. Saleh explained that local companies in which KIA owns shares include Kuwait Industrial Bank, Kuwait Investment Company, Kuwait Livestock Trading and Transport Company, Kuwait Flour Mills and Bakeries Company, Kuwait Cement Company, Kuwait Public Transport Company, Kuwait Airways Corporation and Touristic Enterprises Company.
During its meeting yesterday, the parliamentary health affairs committee discussed its priorities for the coming period, said the committee chairperson MP Humoud Al-Khodair, noting that these priorities include the retirees’ health insurance law as well as a law on protecting patients’ full rights. Khodair added that the priorities will also include building medical cities and hospitals in various governorates, in addition to the psychological health bill that was referred to parliament in 2015 and has not been discussed ever since.
Chairman of the parliamentary financial affairs committee MP Salah Khorsheed urged the government to stop the high level of waste and squander in various ministries as reported by the State Audit Bureau, instead of calling for more time to pass laws that would help citizens face soaring prices. Khorsheed said the government would have to consider increasing rent allowance from KD 150 to KD 275 and child allowance from KD 50 to KD 75 per kid.
Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KNPC) received approval recently from the Central Tenders Committee (CTC) to build 19 new gas stations by the Combined Group Contracting Company with a total value of KD 15.4 million within 15 months. Informed sources said another group of stations would be offered for public tendering soon, with a total value of KD 10 million. The sources said that KNPC currently runs 43 gas stations and that the new ones would have modern designs matching international standards.
The National Offset Company decided extending the period of its liquidation for one more year and reappointing the company’s judicial liquidator Talal Yousif Al-Muzaini as the legal representative of Deloitte. The decision was made following a meeting attended by Kuwait Investment Authority, the State Audit Bureau, ministry of commerce and Duaij Al-Kandary law firm representatives. Notably, the company had been subject to liquidation since its extraordinary general assembly meeting held on Oct 29, 2015.
Oil Minister and Minister of Electricity and Water Essam Al-Marzouq said that the recent oil employees’ strike was not because Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) decided to reduce employees’ incentives, but as a result of putting Cabinet instructions stipulated in decision number 1410 pertaining cutting expenses into effect. Responding to an inquiry filed by MP Faisal Al-Kandari, Marzouq explained that KPC had exerted all possible efforts to prevent the strike. He added that he met KPC’s CEO and its subsidiary companies’ managing directors and executives.
Well-informed financial sources said Kuwait plans to reduce its reliance on oil in its GDP in the fiscal year 2018-2019 to only 45 percent instead of 55 percent. The sources explained that this would be possible through non-oil revenues like fees on public services, balanced taxes, new investments, supporting more industrial projects as well as small and medium projects. The sources explained that Kuwait has allocated $112.5 billion for 521 development projects in the period of 2016-2020 with the ultimate goal of diversifying its resources.
Reports by the Public Authority for Housing Welfare showed a reduction in the estimated budget of five housing projects by over 50 percent in the period of 2013-2015, from over one billion dinars to KD 447 million. The reports explained that, for instance, West Abdullah Al-Mubarak project cost had been estimated at KD 58 million, which was reduced to KD 46 million.
By A Saleh