KUWAIT: Opposition MP Riyadh Al-Adasani yesterday called on the National Assembly to vote urgently on two draft laws that call to scrap hikes in fuel and power prices in addition to banning any future increases without the prior approval of the Assembly. Adasani said the two bills have been in the Assembly for almost two years and were approved by the concerned committee in April 2017 and as such should be voted by the Assembly.

He said the first draft law calls to cancel raises introduced by the government to fuel and electricity prices about two years ago after oil prices crashed. The increase in fuel prices including that of petrol was applied to Kuwaitis and expatriates as well but the 150 percent rise in electricity prices was applied only on expatriates, while citizens were spared. The second bill stipulates that no increases in the prices of public services and commodities can be introduced without the prior approval of the Assembly.

Meanwhile, controversy continued over the amended early retirement law which was approved in the first reading by the Assembly last week despite some opposition. MP Khalil Abul argued the law contains too many benefits for those willing to seek early retirement and accused opponents of the law of trying to provide a false picture to Kuwaiti employees.

MP Safa Al-Hashem insisted that she will not support the law since she found out that the proposed two percent deduction from the pension each year is for life and not only for five years as was understood. The law allows Kuwaiti employees to seek retirement five years before time against the two percent cut every year. Many MPs had demanded that those who have completed 25 years of service should be allowed to retire without any cuts.

Head of the Legal and Legislative Committee MP Khaled Al-Shatti said yesterday that the panel will meet to discuss reducing interest taken by the Industrial Bank on loans offered to farmers. MP Mohammad Al-Dallal yesterday said he will continue to monitor the education minister and threatened that he might ultimately grill him. He criticized the minister for lack of achievements and stressed that he only acts under pressure.

By B Izzak