By B Izzak

KUWAIT: MP Hasan Jowhar on Thursday asked Prime Minister Sheikh Ahmad Al-Nawaf Al-Sabah on the reasons for the delay in establishing the Public Warehouse and Border Crossings company 15 years after the law was passed by the National Assembly. Jowhar said that based on the latest budget, oil income is estimated at KD 17 billion while wages and salaries are projected at KD 15 billon, or 90 percent of total oil revenues. He said that for Kuwait to meet increasing demands for improving the standard of living for citizens, it has become urgently necessary to diversify sources of income away from oil.

Jowhar said that feasibility studies on the project show it will post an annual profit of around KD 140 million, besides creating jobs for citizens and helping Kuwait in its endeavor to become a regional hub for logistics. In the meantime, National Assembly Speaker Ahmad Al-Saadoun sent a series of questions on Thursday to Oil Minister and Acting Finance Minister Saad Al-Barrak about the long procedures in establishing a health insurance company to provide healthcare to a majority of expatriates. Saadoun is the second lawmaker in a few days to target the long-delayed health company and the reasons for the delay.

MP Osama Al-Shaheen two days ago asked the finance minister about why the health company has not started. In his questions, Saadoun said the legislation to establish the company, called the Health Assurance (Dhaman) Hospitals Company, was passed in 2008 and then was officially launched in 2011 but later procedures were delayed due to some legal problems. Saadoun asked for the cost of the technical feasibility study on the project.

He also inquired why Kuwait Investment Authority, the country's sovereign wealth fund, had insisted on establishing the company outside the legal framework before retreating. The speaker also asked if the issue was sent to court and demanded to know the number of cases filed in this regard. The company has already established a number of hospitals and clinics in several areas and appears to be ready to start operations.