Bakheet Al-Rasheedi

KUWAIT: MP Khalil Abul yesterday said lawmakers have been informed that the Cabinet has accepted the resignation of Oil Minister Bakheet Al-Rasheedi. The minister had come under fire from several MPs over alleged squandering of public funds by top oil executives. Abul, who with two other MPs had vowed to grill the minister, said the grilling will be filed against Rasheedi’s successor.

Meanwhile, five MPs yesterday submitted a motion calling on the National Assembly to urgently vote on two draft laws stipulating scrapping hikes in the prices of fuel and electricity. The motion was signed by lawmakers Adnan Abdulsamad, Riyadh Al-Adasani, Safa Al-Hashem, Shuaib Al-Muwaizri and Abdulkarim Al-Kandari. They demanded that the Assembly should vote on the two draft laws approved by the financial and economic affairs committee after the debate on the Amiri speech, which is expected to be completed next week.

The first bill calls for scrapping increases in fuel prices, especially that of petrol, and electricity charges, which were applied only on expatriates. The second bill seeks to restrict the government’s powers in raising the cost of public services by requiring the Assembly’s prior approval of any such hikes. Adasani said on Sunday the two draft laws have been approved by the financial committee since April 2017 and it is high time the Assembly approves them.

The Assembly’s health and labor committee yesterday debated amendments to the labor law in the private sector with the Public Authority for Manpower. MP Osama Al-Shaheen said the committee discussed changes to the end of service system, specifically whether to include public holidays in such calculations. The manpower authority agreed in principle to the amendment but said a final decision is linked to the opinion of the social security agency.

The legal and legislative affairs committee yesterday decided it will take a final vote on the legal status of the grilling against the prime minister on Sunday, its rapporteur said. MP Abul said that he expects the final report on the issue will be ready on Monday so it can be debated in the Assembly session on Tuesday. MP Muwiazri had filed to grill the prime minister over alleged government failure to face the heavy rains, but the government insisted that the grilling breached the constitution. The Assembly then asked the legal committee to see if the grilling violated the constitution.

MP Majed Al-Mutairi, who last week revived a proposal asking the government to purchase the bank loans of Kuwaiti citizens, said his proposal is getting solid support from the rest of the lawmakers. Mutairi said that the issue is very simple as the government maintains huge deposits worth tens of billions of dinars in local banks at a very low interest rate of just 1 percent, thus wasting huge returns for state coffers. He said all the government needs to do is to use part of the wasted returns on its deposits and ask local banks to forgive citizens’ loans.

By B Izzak