MPs vote to grant exceptional pensions to ex-servicemen

KUWAIT MP Shuaib Al-Muwaizri speaks during yesterday’s session.— Photos by Yasser Al-Zayyat

KUWAIT: The national assembly began yesterday debating budgets of state-owned bodies as lawmakers launched a scathing attack on officials at the public authority for agricultural affairs and fisheries and the Public Institutions for Social Security. The assembly decided to continue debating the budgets today and tomorrow as it plans to complete the debate and approvals of state budgets during the holy month of Ramadan.

Islamist MP Jamaan Al-Harbash charged that the agricultural authority was being used to buy the loyalty of politicians and tweeters as has been proved by the budgets committee. He said that a company which supplies the authority with drugs is also acting as the internal auditor for the authority which means that the company is monitoring itself. He also claimed that the social security institution is investing in 13 loss-making portfolios and that KD 7 billion of its funds are deposited at local banks, adding that banks are lending people from these funds.

MP Abdulkarim Al-Kundari charged that the agricultural authority is rife with corruption and has been used to buy loyalty, adding that the authority has not achieved even seven percent of its goals. MP Safa Al-Hashem said the agricultural authority's only success was to achieve food security in egg production despite spending over KD 71 million, adding that the authority has ignored dozens of violations cited by the Audit Bureau.

MP Shuaib Al-Muwaizri attributed the cause of failure and corruption to a deliberate government policy of mismanagement and removing reformist employees. MP Omar Al-Tabtabai said the authority is not responding to anyone including the prime minister himself and approving its budget for the current fiscal year is a crime.

MP Saadoun Hammad said that a local bank is given the lion's share of the social security deposits and banks should be treated equally. He said only one auditor is monitoring the authority's investments of over KD. 29 billion.

During the session, MP Riyadh Al-Adasani submitted a letter calling on concerned government ministries to take all the necessary measures to curb price rises during Ramadan. The lawmaker questioned why the prices of goods were rising after the drop in oil prices.

The assembly also approved with an overwhelming majority a law to grant some 2,700 ex-servicemen with exceptional pensions for the period between 2008 and 2009. The cost was estimated at KD. 65 million in all. MP Nasser Al-Dossari said that he submitted a motion calling for the bedoons committee to study cases of stateless people who obtained fake passports of some Arab countries.

By B Izzak