COVID grounds 5 MPs – Assembly postpones session.

National Assembly Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanim has announced postponement of the session scheduled for Tuesday until Sept 22, indicating the Assembly Office took this decision as per the power granted by the MPs for it to specify the dates of the sessions. Commenting on the suggestion of several MPs to hold the session as scheduled provided those infected with the virus will not be allowed to attend, the Speaker wondered how he could decide who among the MPs are infected and those who are not.

Citing the relevant health regulations, Al-Ghanim pointed out the coronavirus test must be conducted at least seven days after catching the virus; otherwise, the results will be inaccurate. He concluded his statement by wishing speedy recovery for the infected MPs and all those suffering from coronavirus.

The MPs infected with coronavirus include Faisal Al-Kandari, Adel Al- Damkhi, Sa’adoun Hammad, Yousef Al- Fadalah and Abdulwahab Al-Babtein. In another development, MP Osama Al-Shaheen submitted a proposal to exempt one of the parents of primary stage students from reporting for work in order to take care of the children while studying online. He pointed out these young students require close supervision to fully benefit from online education.

Meanwhile, Financial Affairs Committee Chairperson MP Safa’a Al-Hashem disclosed the committee’s meeting was canceled due to lack of quorum; but a supplementary meeting was held to discuss the draft law on competitiveness protection. Al-Hashem said the draft law consists of 42 articles with the aim of limiting monopoly of major companies and to end the domination of the so-called ‘market sharks’.

She sent a letter to the Assembly informing the MPs that the two-week grace period given to Minister of Finance Barrak Al-Shitan to withdraw the Public Loan Bill and prepare another bill in line with vision of the legislature has ended, but Al-Shitan did not submit any bill to the committee.

She disclosed that she had earlier suggested to the minister to reduce the loan amount to KD 10 billion payable within five years, indicating the suggested amount is based on the actual debt of the government – KD 4.5 billion.

She explained this suggestion should be accompanied with an integrated financial and economic plan. She confirmed the minister replied; saying that the current global circumstances are considered an unprecedented opportunity for the government to obtain loans with low interest and long re-payment period, especially since the credit classification of Kuwait is still good. She also quoted the minister as saying that obtaining a long-term loan will give the government more time to focus on financial reform and look for alternative sources of income.

Source- Arab Times.

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