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Cabinet launches national campaign against drugs

By B Izzak and KUNA

KUWAIT: The Cabinet has decided to launch a national anti-drug campaign at the behest of HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Ahmad Al-Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah. The decision was made during the Cabinet’s weekly meeting held at Seif Palace on Monday, said Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs Barrak Al-Sheetan in a statement following the meeting.

The anti-drug campaign will be based on raising public awareness, fighting drugs and establishing drug rehabilitation centers, using the help of local and international experts, the minister said. The ministries of interior, health, education, social affairs and community development, awqaf and Islamic affairs, information and several other state bodies will be involved in the anti-drug endeavor.

In this regard, the health minister was asked to set out visions for setting up drug rehabilitation centers where the best and most sophisticated treatment methods will be used, the Cabinet minister added. First Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Sheikh Talal Khaled Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah gave a briefing on all the dimensions of this serious social scourge, citing official statistics and data on the number of drug victims and quantities of drugs seized in the country. The minister also expounded the interior ministry’s plan to develop efforts to wipe out the phenomenon of drugs and rehabilitate addicts.

Meanwhile, addressing the ministers on the latest health situation in the country, the health minister reassured that the XBB variant COVID-19 does not cause any serious symptoms. However, he underlined that people should continue to avoid gatherings, wear facemasks in case of respiratory symptoms and get vaccinated against flu and COVID-19.

Separately, five lawmakers on Monday submitted a draft law stipulating the distribution of 20 percent of returns of the sovereign wealth fund to Kuwaiti citizens in the form of equity in major firms. The draft law also stipulates to make the deduction every year to benefit all Kuwaiti citizens who reach 18 years of age. Assets in the sovereign wealth fund, one of the oldest in the world, are estimated at $700 billion in the form of investments in major international companies, mostly in the United States and Europe.

Under the law, returns of the fund are not added to the budget but must be invested under the fund, known as the Reserve Fund for Future Generations. The draft law wants to make an exception to this law, so part of the returns, and not the assets, are given to Kuwaiti citizens in the form of shares. The assets in the fund are to be used for the benefit of future generations when oil reserves run out, but the bill aims to make Kuwaitis benefit from the fund now. Although returns are not made public, they are estimated to be billions of dollars.

The National Assembly meanwhile holds its regular session on Tuesday with the state budget high on its agenda. The Assembly refused to pass the budget, which is already seven months late, because of objections over some items. The budgets committee sorted out the objections with the finance ministry in order for the budget to be passed.

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