Assembly set to take up SMEs loan bill – Term ends Thursday.

Member of Legislative Affairs Committee MP Majed Al-Mutairi revealed the committee held a supplementary meeting recently in the presence of Finance Minister Barrak Al-Shitan, Minister of Commerce and Industry Khalid Al-Rawdan, senior officials in both ministries, and representatives of the owners of small and medium enterprises (SMEs), Kuwait Banking Association and Kuwait Economic Society.

The committee discussed the government’s bill on granting loans to the owners of SMEs facing financial problems due to the coronavirus crisis. Al-Mutairi said the committee listened to the opinion of the government, affirming the committee will meet again on Tuesday to vote on the bill and then refer it to the Assembly.

Earlier, Speaker of the National Assembly Marzouq Al-Ghanim has invited the MPs to the session slated for Tuesday to discuss bills on Kuwait Airways Corporation, demographic imbalance and the handicapped; in addition to the second reading of the Bankruptcy Bill.

The Speaker extended the invitation in a press conference Monday, during which he affirmed that the Assembly and Ministry of Health will inform the MPs who will not be able to attend the session due to coronavirus infection. He also unveiled his plan to announce the agenda for Wednesday’s session after the discussion of the concerned parliamentary committees’ reports about the urgent bills on Tuesday. He clarified the session scheduled for Thursday is for the culmination of the current parliamentary term.

Talking about his bill and two others submitted by MPs on solving the Bedoun issue, Al-Ghanim stressed the importance of approving a law on preserving national identity and providing permanent solutions to the issue. He said national identity is not for sale, while stressing that only the deserving has the right to obtain Kuwaiti nationality. He then urged the Interior and Defense Affairs Committee to speed up the completion of its report on these bills, so the Assembly can approve the report before the end of the current parliamentary term.

On the other hand, Chairman of the committee tasked to investigate violations committed by Kuwait Airways Corporation MP Dr Badr Al-Mullal confirmed the discovery of grave administrative violations; such as the recruitment of staff without advertising the vacancies and appointment of senior officials who did not meet the new criteria. He pointed out the corporation signed useless contracts with job hunting companies like Spencer Steward and HR Investment.

He said these companies failed to fulfill the requirements for the appointment of senior officials, citing as an example the former chief executive officer who was appointed even if he was not highly qualified for the post. He went on to say the helicopter deals issue has nothing to do with Kuwait Airways, but it exposed hazardous violations in other institutions which settled such deals. He added the committee recommended referring the issue to Kuwait Anti-Corruption Authority (Nazaha) for further investigation.

Moreover, the Legislative Affairs Committee has unanimously approved the request of the Public Prosecution to lift the immunity of MP Muhammad Al-Mutair, who has been accused of involvement in illegal subscription and suspicious purchase of the securities of a company.

Earlier, Al-Mutair confirmed he is willing to undergo investigations, because he is sure that he is innocent. He claimed those who hurled the abovementioned accusations at him are fully aware of his innocence and they do not want the court to rule on the case; since they prefer leaving the issue as it is in order to use it against him, especially during elections. Meanwhile, the Health Affairs Committee on Monday met Minister of Oil, Electricity and Water Dr Khalid Al-Fadel and representatives of Kuwaitis working in private oil companies.

Committee Chairman MP Sa’adoun Hammad said they listened to the demand of the employees during the meeting, affirming that the committee supports these employees who are demanding for increasing their number compared to their expatriate counterparts.

He quoted Al-Fadel as saying that Kuwaiti employees previously constituted 25 percent of the total workforce in private oil companies and this increased to 30 percent later. He disclosed the committee suggested one-time 50 percent increase in the number of Kuwaiti employees and then five percent annually. He pointed out Kuwait is the last among Gulf Countries in terms of the number of nationals working in private oil companies.

Source- Arab Times.

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