By B Izzak
KUWAIT: MP Muhalhal Al-Mudhaf asked the finance minister on Wednesday about the impact of rising US interest rates on the Kuwaiti economy, prices of imported commodities and the value of the local currency. The lawmaker said that after a series of interest rate hikes by the United States, Kuwait’s discount rate at 3 percent is one percent lower than that of the US. This is in addition to interest rate increases on other currencies composing the basket of currencies to which the Kuwaiti dinar is pegged.
He asked the finance minister about measures taken by the central bank to avert any possible adverse effects on the Kuwaiti economy as a result of the US Fed increases. The lawmaker also asked if the increase of the US interest rate would result in any pressure on the Kuwaiti dinar and its rate of exchange. He also enquired if the rise in the interest rate could raise the value of imports and consequently prices in the domestic market.
Mudhaf also asked the minister about measures taken by the government to counteract any possible increases in local prices. Additionally, the lawmaker asked the minister about measures taken by the central bank to fight rising inflation and enquired about the targeted inflation rate. The lawmaker also asked the minister of justice about the policies and measures adopted by the ministry to curb encroachments on public funds over the past 12 years.
Meanwhile, MPs filed two separate draft laws calling to allow courts to hear cases related to Kuwaiti citizenship. Under the current law, courts are barred to hear cases related to citizenship because the issue is sovereign and only the government can handle it. The two draft laws stipulate that revoking Kuwaiti citizenship is not a sovereign issue and thus courts can hear such cases. This is one of the most sensitive reforms in the nationality law that lawmakers have been trying to pass. The government had in the past revoked citizenship of Kuwaitis, allegedly over political issues.
Also, MP Obaid Al-Wasmi sent a question to the government asking for a list of names of senior officials appointed by the government on Monday. The lawmaker also demanded the types of tests the new officials had undertaken to qualify for the posts.