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Aqeel says Kuwait needs expats; Ghanem denies mediating for jailed Russian woman

Mariam Al-Aqeel

KUWAIT: Minister of State for Economic Affairs Mariam Al-Aqeel said in press statements yesterday that Kuwait still needs the services of expatriate manpower, adding that repeated changes to the labor law discourages foreign investors. Speaking to reporters, the minister said that Kuwait needs highly qualified and skilled expatriate manpower. The minister also said that there is no problem in allowing expatriates working in the country to bring their spouses to join them if they have the financial ability.

Aqeel said that the presence of too many single male expats in the country is problematic and poses one of several problems related to the unbalanced demographic structure of the nation. Some 3.1 million expatriates live and work in Kuwait against around 1.4 million citizens. MPs have been pressing the government to reduce the number of expats to pave the way to employ more Kuwaitis. Aqeel also defended the government’s opposition to amending the labor law, saying that repeated amendments are not helpful in attracting foreign investors to the country.

Meanwhile, National Assembly Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanem denied that he mediated for a Russian woman currently in custody over a financial case in connection with a fund of the Ports Authority. Ghanem said the issue was raised during a recent meeting with his Russian counterpart, but he said that he told her that the Kuwaiti judiciary is independent and fair and that any requests should be made directly to the judge through lawyers. Ghanem called on the press and all media outlet not to cite him for saying anything unless he makes statements directly to reporters or through official releases.

In other Assembly news, MPs Riyadh Al-Adasani, Adel Al-Damkhi and Mohammad Al-Dallal reiterated yesterday that their grilling of Information Minister Mohammad Al-Jabri is in line with the constitution and Kuwaiti laws. Responding to a request by the minister to clarify certain parts of the grilling, the lawmakers insisted that the grilling is very clear and the minister’s request is an attempt to escape accountability. The lawmakers also insisted that they will make public during the debate a large number of violations committed by Jabri. The grilling is on the agenda of today’s session, but the debate could be delayed for two weeks if the minister demands so. The Assembly is also due to debate a grilling against Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs Anas Al-Saleh over alleged violations.

By B Izzak

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