By B Izzak
KUWAIT: HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Sabah yesterday said Kuwait was among the first countries to order the coronavirus vaccine and “it will be available to citizens and expatriates free of charge and on a voluntary basis”. The premier was speaking during a forum called “Achievements Despite Challenges”, where ministers showcased their achievements, stressing they have made significant achievements during a short period.
Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled said the government plan during the short duration focused on “strengthening integrity”, “digital transformation” and “developing government performance”. He said the government has referred 57 cases of corruption involving public funds to the public prosecution, in addition to 1,042 misdemeanor cases and encroachment on public properties, adding that digital transformation will block the way of corruption.
He said during the beginning of the pandemic, the government conducted the state’s largest repatriation operation, in which 12,000 employees and volunteers took part. People were brought back aboard 185 flights from 58 destinations. The flights covered one million kilometers in 1,750 hours.
Interior Minister Anas Al-Saleh said 70 percent of the ministry’s services are offered online, adding that 960,000 people are using the Kuwait Mobile ID application. He said the ministry has referred to the public prosecution 417 companies suspected of trading in visas. He said the ministry has also increased traffic fines. The interior ministry also introduced residence permits for foreign investors, Saleh said, adding that the cost of deporting expat violators will be paid by the party that caused the violation.
Minister of Social Affairs Mariam Al-Aqeel insisted on the ministry’s efforts to amend the population structure, which is heavily tilted in favor of expats. She said Kuwaitization of jobs in the private and public sectors coupled with the “smart recruitment” of foreign labor has helped in the efforts to amend the population structure.
Health Minister Sheikh Dr Basel Al-Sabah said his ministry has been successful in providing adequate healthcare to the public in spite of the many challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. The ministry also increased the capacity of health facilities and hospitals in the calendar year to a number higher than the target stated in the country’s development plan, despite the challenges presented by the pandemic.
Education Minister Saud Al-Harbi said maintaining the health and safety of pupils and teaching staff during the COVID-19 pandemic is the main challenge for the ministry. “Among our priorities is also continuing to provide the right to education and preserving the structure of the educational system,” he added.