MP: Kuwait’s fiscal position sound, reserve not depleted

Lawmaker drops plan to grill social affairs minister over social aid

KUWAIT: Rapporteur of the National Assembly’s budgets committee MP Riyadh Al-Adasani said yesterday that Kuwait enjoys a sound financial position backed by huge assets, denying statements that the state’s reserve fund has been reduced to just KD 7 billion. The lawmaker said assets in the state reserve are “greatly higher” than the figure announced by current and former officials, including former finance minister Bader Al-Humaidhi, who warned of a financial crisis if Kuwait does not rationalize spending.

Adasani said the budgets committee exerted efforts with the government that resulted in transferring some KD 8.4 billion to the state reserve fund. He also said the expected actuarial deficit of the pension agency is KD 17.4 billion and not KD 19 billion as was said, adding that the most important thing here is that the deficit is not current but is expected to happen in the future based on calculations. Adasani said the country has huge assets, but they must be managed in the best way possible, recalling that the government must tackle problems related to distortions in the state budget and final accounts.

Adasani also warned that he will go ahead with plans to grill the prime minister and the finance minister unless the government appeals against the prosecution’s decision to shelve investigation into suspected money laundering cases in which current and former MPs are involved. He said the government pledged to file the petition but so far nothing has been done. The lawmaker reiterated his pledge to grill the interior minister.
Meanwhile, MP Al-Humaidi Al-Subaei said he has suspended plans to grill the minister of social affairs and labor over the ministry’s alleged mistreatment of needy Kuwaiti women who receive social aid from the state. The lawmaker had vowed to grill the minister because the ministry suspended social aid to thousands of Kuwaiti women.

Subaei however said yesterday that ministry officials informed him that only 1,130 women were affected because they failed to update their files by bringing certificates from various ministries to prove they were in need. He added the officials informed him that the women are no longer required to bring such certificates personally, as the ministry has already written to other government bodies and the update is expected to be completed within a week’s time.

Social affairs ministry undersecretary Abdul Aziz Shuaib earlier said the total number of Kuwaiti women receiving social aid who had not updated their information dropped from 6,000 to only 1,130 since May. Shuaib added that in view of the increasing number of those upgrading their information, the ministry is coordinating with relevant authorities to accelerate the process so that beneficiaries can get their aid in time once the new information is attested by the ministry aid committee, which annually pays a total of KD 280 million to over 44,000 citizens.

By B Izzak And Meshaal Al-Enezi

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