KUWAIT: The National Assembly financial and economic affairs committee yesterday approved a draft law stipulating that Kuwait Airways will be a state-held authority, practically rejecting efforts in the past few years to privatize the loss-making carrier.

Rapporteur of the committee MP Safa Al-Hashem said that under the bill, the government will pay all the losses incurred by the carrier until when the law becomes effective.

Hashem said the committee decided to reject bids to privatize the company because the government experiments with privatization has been disappointing. She added that the decision to keep KAC under government control is because of several attempts to control it by private entities in a way that involves losses to public funds.

The law also requires that the percentage of Kuwaitis should be at least 60 percent at the airlines three years from applying the law. The National Assembly passed in 2008 a law stipulating to privatize KAC by giving a stake to a strategic investor, foreign or local, another to Kuwaiti citizens and a third stake of 24 percent will be given to state institutions. The law was amended several times but it could not be implemented despite the company purchasing around 35 new aircraft.

MP Askar Al-Enezi said he and a number of lawmakers will submit today a motion calling to debate and approve a draft law stipulating that the government should naturalize up to 4,000 stateless people or bedoons in 2017 as part of resolving their problem.

Askar said that there is a majority of lawmakers who want to approve the draft legislation. Several such laws were approved in the past several years but remained mostly unimplemented as the government naturalized only a few bedoons. Head of the National Assembly budgets committee MP Adnan Abdulsamad said yesterday the committee rejected to approve the final accounts of state for the 2015/2016 but approved the draft budget for 2017/2018. The lawmaker said that the rejection came

to protest the government failure to respond to remarks made by the Audit Bureau.

In the meantime, opposition MP Al-Humaidi Al-Subaie said yesterday that he plans to file to grill the education minister after the opening session of the next term in October over alleged violations at the Public Authority for Education and Training.

By B Izzak