KUWAIT: Deputy Speaker MP Issa Al-Kundari yesterday questioned the Finance Minister about why Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA) did not pull out of French company Areva despite massive losses of its stake. Kundari said that KIA purchased a stake in Areva in 2010 and this stake has already plunged by over 87.5 percent according to reports by the Audit Bureau.

KIA had bought a stake of just under five percent of Areva for around $680 million. The value of this stake has dwindled to just over 10 percent of the original investment. MP Kundari said the value of KIA stake in Areva plunged gradually in the subsequent years after the purchase. As a result, the Audit Bureau repeatedly called on KIA to withdraw from the company to stop the massive losses.

He said that KIA did not take any measure and its stake plunged further. The Audit Bureau said that KIA inaction did not only represent a financial violation but also a political violation which comes under the responsibility of the National Assembly. The lawmaker asked why KIA did not take any move to sell its stake in Areva to safeguard public funds. According to latest reports, KIA has been bidding to exit from Areva by selling its stake.

Meanwhile, the legal and legislative committee has approved a proposal calling to grant Kuwaiti female employees the social and children allowances like their male counterparts provided that their husbands do not receive the allowances. The committee also rejected a proposal by MP Abdullah Fahhad calling to declare the last 10 days of the holy fasting month of Ramadan a public holiday to allow time for worship. The proposal also called for cancelling out all existing public holidays except those of the national and liberation day and the two Eids.

In the meantime, MP Shuaib Al-Muwaizri asked the Minister of Social Affairs and Labor about the number of work permits issued between January 3, 2016 and May 23, 2017. He also asked the minister if the ministry has any well defined rules to estimate the needs of private sector of laborers.

By B Izzak