Lawmaker vows to grill Finance Minister Hajraf

MP Ashour urges measures against Jordan

KUWAIT: MP Riyadh Al-Adasani said yesterday that his planned grilling against Finance Minister Nayef Al-Hajraf will likely be one of the largest in Kuwait’s history and will include wide-ranging issues. The lawmaker said in a statement that the grilling will be more than 100 pages and will include issues regarding the country’s fiscal position, state budget, sovereign fund investments, the pension agency and the so-called actuarial deficit in addition to banks and companies in which the state has stakes in them.

He did not provide specific details on the issues but Adasani had in the past spoken about alleged violations in various financial bodies under the supervision of the Finance Minister. Adasani had also vowed to grill the ministers of Interior, Commerce and Industry and even the Prime Minister himself over a variety of issues. Some of these grillings are expected to be filed even before the start of the new Assembly term on October 29.
In a related issue, Hajraf said in a statement yesterday that he has rejected proposals by state departments and ministries for their projections for the 2020/2021 state budget in which spending is projected to jump to a record high KD 27.7 billion. The minister said in the statement that he has rejected those proposals and urged all state bodies to submit more realistic proposals.

In the meantime, the Assembly’s Financial and Economic Affairs committee yesterday agreed to keep a 42-year old system at the Public Institute for Social Security or the pension agency that allows pensioners to cash part of their retirement. Head of the committee MP Salah Khorshed said that the committee also decided to reduce interest taken on such service from up to 14 percent to between 4 percent and 6 percent. Khorshed also said the panel asked the pension agency to create a new system to provide such service in accordance with Islamic Sharia rules but with interest remaining around 6 percent.

Also, MP Saleh Ashour yesterday strongly lashed out at Jordan and called for stopping all aid and loans to the Arab nation after a group of Jordanian crowds chanted in praise of former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein during a football game between Jordan and Kuwait last week. Jordan’s King Abdullah II and top government officials apologized for the crowd’s misbehavior while authorities said they arrested at least two people.

But Ashour said this was not the first time that crowds in Jordan have praised Saddam Hussein who in August 1990 ordered his troops to invade Kuwait before a US-led international coalition drove them out seven months later. Ashour said that all forms of aid to Jordan must be suspended and warned that he will call for forming a committee to investigate the issue.

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