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Lifting fuel subsidies, rationalizing energy’s waiting official announcement – MP warns minister over Jahra’s ‘suspicious cafés’

KUWAIT: A decision to lift fuel subsidies and apply the new water and electricity consumption prices is ready and only waiting for an official announcement, well-informed sources said. However, the sources stressed that the government was waiting for the Ministry of Commerce and Industry to decide on effective execution measures to monitor prices and prevent inflation once the decision is put into practice in order to avoid consequences similar to those after lifting diesel subsidies.
The sources added that the government asked the commerce ministry and other departments to give a clear vision about monitoring and accountability to prevent price increases at various retail outlets, restaurants and construction material stores.

Power subsidization
The Gulf Cooperation Council’s (GCC) electric grid authority’s CEO Ahmed Ali Al-Ibrahim stressed that the annual total cost of subsidizing the power sector in GCC states was $160 billion. Ibrahim explained that the sum includes subsidizing fuel and power.

Financial statement
Chairman of the parliament’s budgets committee MP Adnan Abdulsamad said that the committee discussed the finance ministry’s final statement for the fiscal year 2014-2015 and the Audit Bureau’s remarks on it. Abdulsamad said that the committee agreed to establish an internal auditing department at the finance ministry to follow up certain issues like not activating revenue stamps in several cases and lack of documents needed for paying retired Kuwait Airways employees the sum of KD 45 million. The committee also called for coordination with the foreign ministry concerning foreign loans and grants in addition to classifying the government’s overdue debts with various governmental bodies and deciding whether they were collectable. “Some of those debts go way before the Iraqi invasion”, said sources familiar with the meeting. Moreover, the sources stressed that the committee stressed the importance of strictness in collecting all forms of tax revenues and fees for using government owned properties as a means to diversify the sources of income.

Private sector
Finance Minister Anas Al-Saleh is expected to brief the parliament’s public fund protection committee about a list of companies that are set to be sold to the private sector in accordance with Kuwaiti laws, such as Kuwait International Fair Company.

Jahra’s cafés
MP Mohammed Tana Al-Enezi threatened to hold commerce ministry officials accountable and grill the minister himself unless something was done to stop suspicious cafés in Jahra. “We have previously warned of vice inside some of those cafes and I was told that a cafe recently busted by the vice squad was not closed down,” he said, urging the commerce ministry to act immediately.

Jaber Hospital
A delegation consisting of Ministry of Public Works (MPW) and the Supreme Planning Council is due to visit the Jaber Hospital project today to check work progress on the site.

Down Chemical
Well-informed governmental sources said that the government decided to refer the Dow Chemical case to the public prosecution in January once a legal brief was made about the case in view of the parliamentary decision in this regard.

By A Saleh

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