KUWAIT: MP Khalil Abul yesterday questioned Minister of Social Affairs and Labor Hind Al-Sabeeh about the population of foreigners in Kuwait and their expected growth in the next 10 years. In a series of questions, the lawmaker asked for the number of expatriates based on the latest population census, distributed on various nationalities, type of sex and the educational degrees they hold. He also asked about the number of Kuwaiti citizens distributed according to type of sex and age group. He also asked for the same information about stateless people living in Kuwait who are locally known as Bedoons.

MP Abul asked if the ministry has any plan to deal with the demographic problem in the country where expatriates make up the overwhelming majority. If the answer is yes, he asked for a copy of the said plan which should be based on the country’s needs. He also asked if the ministry has any study about the expected growth in the number of expatriates and citizens over the next five or ten years – and demanded a copy of the study if available. The lawmaker said these statistics are important to the development goals in the country. Based on official information from the Public Authority for Civil Information (PACI), the number of expats is 2.9 million and Kuwaitis is 1.3 million.

In another development, the Prime Minister is expected to carry out a limited Cabinet reshuffle in the coming few days – mainly to resolve the standoff in the oil sector between Oil Minister Ali Al-Omair and top executives at Kuwait Petroleum Corp (KPC) and its subsidiaries. The latest round of the ongoing controversy between Omair and the executive was triggered last week when the minister issued a decision swapping between the chief executive officers of Kuwait Oil Co (KOC) Hashem Hashem and Kuwait Foreign Petroleum Exploration Co (KUFPEC) Sheikh Fawaz Saud Al-Sabah.

The CEO of KPC Nezar Al-Adasani and the two officials rejected to implement the decision saying that Omair had no powers under the law to take the decision without consulting KPC board of directors and the concerned companies. Omair is also under the threat of two grillings by MPs Khalil Al-Saleh and Ahmad Al-Qhudhaibi. According to the proposed solution to the crisis, Omair will likely be moved to another ministry and will be replaced either by State Minister for Cabinet Affairs Sheikh Mohammad Al-Abdullah Al-Sabah or Minister of Finance Anas Al-Saleh, with the first more likely.

If Omair rejects the new posting, he will quit and return to the National Assembly as a lawmaker because he is an elected MP. The other part of the solution is dissolving the boards of KPC and other companies and appointing new officials. MP Khalil Al-Saleh who has vowed to grill Omair, has called on him to quit, saying that the questioning was gaining more support from other lawmakers. Omair’s confrontation with the top oil executives has stirred a controversy on social media with those supporting the minister claiming he is the victim of highly influential people with huge interests in the oil sector.

By B Izzak