Union demands return of shrimping by trawling

KUWAIT: Former MP Abdullah Al-Turaiji filed a report with the Public Anti-Corruption Authority yesterday including a list of the names of 20 current and former lawmakers who he alleges have been involved in financial transactions of at least KD 100 million each.

Meanwhile, MP Mohammed Al-Huwailah announced filing a parliamentary inquiry asking Health Minister Sheikh Dr Bassel Al-Humoud Al-Sabah about delays in extension projects of major hospitals and the percentage of achievement and obstacles facing each project.

In other news, the financial and economic affairs committee at the National Assembly yesterday approved amendments to the civil service law (1979/15), allowing second and third degree leaders to extend service. The commission approved inclusion of 14 new provisions to the civil service law, concerning in particular undersecretaries and their assistants. MP Salah Khorshid, the committee's chairman, speaking after a meeting, said the new articles "will be fair for the leaders in the future. "It will also be fair for the current senior personnel with respect of evaluating their status and renewing their terms."

One of the introduced provisions stipulate forming a special panel to judge the leaders, determine whether their mandate should be renewed. According to the amendments, an assistant undersecretary can apply for extending his or her service for two more terms, each lasting for four years. An undersecretary is entitled to extend the service for a third mandate lasting for four years. The bill will be included into the parliament agenda, as soon as possible.

Shrimping season

Kuwait Fishermen Union's Chairman Thaher Al-Sowayyan stressed that the union insists on fishermen's right to continue shrimping by trawling and called for announcing the date of allowing shrimping in Kuwaiti regional waters. Sowayyan added that the union has been invited to a meeting with a committee formed by the Cabinet including representatives from the Public Authority for Agricultural Affairs and Fish Resources (PAAAFR), Environment Public Authority (EPA), the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MoCI) and Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research (KISR) to introduce its vision, along with those of Kuwait University (KU) and fish companies on making a report about Kuwait's fish resources and reserves.

He added that the meeting discussed studying shrimping by trawling and the decision to ban shrimping in national waters until further notice, as recommended by EPA. He added that trawling has been used for over 50 years and that the union insists that fishermen continue using it. He also promised that the union will prepare a full report about the method including statistics about shrimps caught in the 2017 fishing season. "Our fleets provided local market with 2,380 tons of shrimps that were sufficient for local consumption," he underlined.

Farmers' union

The Manpower Public Authority's official spokesperson Aseel Al-Mezyad stressed that the authority is always open for complaints or suggestions that will enhance its development policy, improve the level of services and achieve the best interests of all parties. Responding to rumors about closing registration of membership for the farmers' union and closing the farmers' diwaniya, Mezyad stressed that the authority is fully committed to enforcing the law and promised to study and discuss all complaints according to standard legal measures.

Private sector

A company hired to conduct a study on the mechanism of employment in the public sector as sought within the Kuwait 2035 vision has asked the Civil Service Commission (CSC) to temporarily reduce the number of citizens nominated to work in ministries and other state departments in order to encourage youth to join the private sector, said informed sources.

The sources added that the company found citizens have been leaving the private sector to work for the government, and it managed to identify several reasons for this reversal, including having secure jobs, unlike in the private sector, and lack of allowances and incentives. The sources said the company aims at increasing the number of citizens working for the private sector to 100,000 by 2021, which will be difficult unless more citizens are encouraged to join the private sector.

Private schools

The Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MoCI) rejected requests made by the Ministry of Education (MoE) to impose stricter conditions on issuing licenses for private schools and institutes, such as increasing the minimum capital. "This proposal is legally against the companies' law and against improving the business environment," MoCI stressed. MoCI said that it recently finished preparing a list of internationally classified activities and their local equivalents pending using international codes and terms. MoCI also noted that it recently issued a decision on commercial activities that can be practiced in Kuwait and the capital required. "The minimum capital needed for individual companies is KD 1,000, KD 10,000 for closed shareholding companies and KD 25,000 for general shareholding ones," MoCI explained.

Information Technology

Health Minister Sheikh Dr Bassel Al-Sabah issued ministerial resolution number 32/2018 pertaining the conditions of contracting to supply the ministry with automated systems, computers, networks and printers and hiring technicians or computer consultants without the written approval of the ministry's Information Technology Department. Sheikh Bassel also issued resolution number 33/2018 pertaining reviewing all tenders currently offered for bidding, requesting a list of them within two weeks so that they could be discussed with relevant ministry sectors and decide whether they could be adjusted, have their costs cut or even cancelled in case of a presence of alternatives. The resolution also called or not offering any future tenders for bidding unless urgently needed by ministry divisions.

Oil sector officials

Kuwait Petroleum Corporation's (KPC) board of directors issued a decision appointing Bader Ahmad Al-Munaifi as deputy CEO for West Kuwait at Kuwait Oil Company (KOC), Suleiman Ali Al-Marzouqi as deputy CEO for olefins and aromatics at the Petrochemical Industries Company (PIC) and Nadia Bader Al-Hajji as deputy CEO for gas and petrochemicals at Kuwait Integrated Petrochemical Industries Company (KIPIC).

Job vacancies

Meanwhile, the finance ministry urged KPC to scrap 200 out of 789 job vacancies it had declared available, well-informed sources. The ministry noticed that KOC has not been filling all positions and that it had 789 job vacancies for years, the sources added. They stressed that although 100 of these jobs have been given to KIPIC, 200 more will have to be cancelled to avoid a negative impact on payrolls.

By Meshaal Al-Enezi and A Saleh