MP questions Finance Minister over metro, railway projects – Former Speaker alleges ‘massive robbery’

MP Saleh Ashour
MP Saleh Ashour

KUWAIT: MP Saleh Ashour yesterday sent a large number of questions to Finance Minister Anas Al-Saleh over a reported plan to take the multi-billion-dinar metro and railway projects from the Ministry of Communications to the Public Private Partnership (PPP) authority. Acting on claims made by former Assembly Speaker Ali Al-Rashed who described the matter as a massive robbery, Ashour sent over 50 questions to the minister inquiring about financial and administrative details of the two projects.

Ashour claimed that based on recommendations by the PPP authority, the government will be obliged to pay around KD 1 billion every year for 31 years for the contractors of the metro project. He also claimed that the government will be required to pay billions of dinars to the contractor of the railway project for around 30 years, raising suspicions about the whole process.

The lawmaker also recalled that the council of ministers decided in 2012 that the two projects will be carried out on the basis of Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) and asked why there are plans to change this decision. The two projects have been repeatedly delayed for several reasons and moved from one authority to another. Former speaker Rashed said yesterday that if the metro and railway case filed by him was shelved or no ruling issued, he will take the matter to the Anti-Corruption Authority. In one of the questions, Ashour asked the Finance Minister about the total cost of the two projects if they were implemented by the private sector and their cost if they will be implemented by the government.

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