Assembly likely to hold weekly sessions in Ramadan

KUWAIT: Kuwait Petroleum Corp (KPC) net profits are projected to reach KD 544 million in the current fiscal year, up 47 percent on last year's profits due to an increase in the price of oil, head of the National Assembly's budgets committee said yesterday. MP Adnan Abdulsamad said KPC has calculated the price of oil at $45 a barrel and is projecting to post revenues amounting to over KD 10 billion.

But the lawmaker said that KPC's net profits were coming from non-operating revenues and not from its core business. Abdulsamad said KPC is projecting non-operating profits in the 2017/2018 fiscal year representing interest and investments at KD 939 million. He said certain activities of KPC subsidiaries have been making yearly losses, citing the example of national refiner Kuwait National Petroleum Co (KNPC), which is expected to post losses worth KD 405 million from refining operations in the current fiscal year. He called for taking decisive measures to deal with such losses.

Abdulsamad said that although KPC has cut its development projects from 70 to 38, costing an estimated KD 18 billion, spending was only 27 percent or KD 5 billion. The lawmaker said the committee called for taking the necessary measures to deal with delays in oil projects, saying that the Audit Bureau has noted delays in 144 projects out of 291 ongoing ventures. For example, the percentage of execution of the clean fuel project reached 50 percent in the latest final accounts, while the target was 61 percent, adding that 17,000 workers were operating on the project, down from the estimated 40,000 employees, Abdulsamad said.

The committee called on KPC and its subsidiaries to exert more efforts to achieve its strategy of boosting crude oil production to 4.0 million barrels per day in 2020, adding that the shortage from the target in the last final account reached 810,000 barrels.

Meanwhile, the Assembly office discussed yesterday the holding of regular sessions during the holy month of Ramadan, expected to start on May 27, MP Thamer Al-Suwait said. He added that the Assembly may hold weekly sessions in Ramadan, but no final decision has been taken, adding that the Assembly is scheduled to complete the debate of the budgets before the start of the last 10 days of Ramadan.

The constitutional court yesterday agreed to look into two petitions, one challenging the constitutionality of the anti-corruption law and a second challenging a government decision to deprive Kuwaiti women from housing benefits, as unconstitutional. The court will start looking into the challenges in October.

By B Izzak