Govt withdraws KD 25bn debt bill

KUWAIT: National Assembly Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanem and MP Riyadh Al-Adasani share a light moment with a lawmaker at the National Assembly yesterday. – Phoito by Yasser Al-Zayyat

KUWAIT: Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanem told the National Assembly yesterday that the government has withdrawn a draft law to allow it to borrow up to KD 25 billion. Ghanem gave no reasons for the government action or whether it plans to submit a new draft law in the future. Under Kuwaiti law, the government cannot make any domestic or foreign borrowing without a law passed by the National Assembly. The existing law has expired and the government must depend on new legislation to borrow in order to finance a budget deficit due to low oil prices.

The announcement came during an Assembly session that was filled for most of the time with strong exchanges between several lawmakers, who accused each other of corruption or being agents of influential people. The session was adjourned without approving any law or report as lawmakers discussed a draft law for the establishment of a national commission for human rights amid constitutional disputes.

The exchanges began when opposition MP Mohammad Al-Mutair called for referring allegations against him to the public prosecution, saying that the issue relates to a payment he made to the Kuwait Investment Company. He said the payment was made by him in 2004 and the allegations were being repeated by “corrupt MPs who had received bribes in a bid to tarnish his image”.

MPs Riyadh Al-Adasani and Shuaib Al-Muwaizri supported the call and said the entire issue should be investigated by the public prosecution. At this point, Adasani clashed with Mutair, who accused him of obtaining his information from corrupt lawmakers and called on him to line himself up with those corrupt lawmakers. Adasani responded by denying the allegation and accusing Mutair of receiving his orders from former minister Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahd Al-Sabah.

The exchanges developed into strong verbal clashes between Mutair and MP Saadoun Hammad, who accused each other of working for influential people. The issue was finally referred to the Assembly’s public funds protection panel for investigation.

By B Izzak


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