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Ghanem hits at corrupt forces as Kuwait readies for elections

By B Izzak

KUWAIT: Speaker of the dissolved National Assembly Marzouq Al-Ghanem yesterday hit hard at what he described as “those who robbed our wealth” during the 1990-91 Iraqi invasion of the country. The former speaker also welcomed the dissolution of the Assembly, saying it is a golden opportunity for the Kuwaiti people to discover their true representatives.

HH the Crown Prince Sheikh Mishal Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah on Tuesday issued a decree dissolving the National Assembly hours after swearing in a new Cabinet led by new Prime Minister HH Sheikh Ahmad Al-Nawaf Al-Sabah. Under Kuwait’s constitution, new polls must be held within two months of the dissolution date.

“As we remember our martyrs on August 2 (1990 Iraqi invasion) … we recall with bitterness those who stole our wealth during those dark days under the belief Kuwait” has been wiped out forever, Ghanem wrote on Twitter. The thieves “are still spending that money to fund their tools to destroy the homeland and carry out their suspicious agenda in tarnishing the image of honest people” he added.

In another tweet, Ghanem welcomed the decree to dissolve the National Assembly. “I am confident that this is a golden opportunity for the Kuwaiti people to discover those who truly represent them” and those who cheat them, a reference to his critics. The election campaign will kick start immediately after issuing a decree fixing the date for snap polls.

Nevertheless, the opposition Progressive Movement yesterday called on the opposition groups to unify their efforts in the election by forming joint lists for reformist candidates to ensure the largest number of them win seats. In the meantime, the budget deficit for the fiscal year 2021/2022 which ended on March 31, 2022 plunged to just KD 3 billion from KD 10.7 billion shortfall posted in the previous year, according to figures by the Finance Ministry.

The sharp increase in oil revenues, mainly in the last quarter of the previous fiscal year (January to March, 2022) was the main reason for the drop in the deficit. Oil income for the whole year jumped from an estimated KD 8.7 billion to KD 16.2 billion. Kuwait has been posting a budget deficit since the fiscal year 2015/2016 due to the sharp drop in oil prices which recovered in the past several months.

The country is expected to post a budget surplus in the current fiscal year as both prices and the level of production sharply increased. Oil Minister Mohammad Al-Fares said yesterday Kuwait’s output will increase to 2.818 million barrels per day from next month, way up from around 2.3 million for the past several years.

 

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