KUWAIT: Official statistics issued by the Supreme Council for Planning and Development showed that the total estimated cost of building the metro transport system – one of the development plan projects included in the 2035 vision – will be KD 3.46 billion. Statistics also showed that 11 percent of the project has been completed and that it is expected to be finished in 2019. Further, the sources explained that the project will be done through the public private partnership (PPP) system to provide an integrated transport system that would facilitate public transport within Kuwait City.
In addition, the council’s report revealed that the main aims of the project include providing over 1,500 job opportunities, reducing traffic congestions as the metro would have a rush hour capacity of 19,000 passengers, and reducing expats’ use of private transport as 90 percent of them are expected to use it.
The project’s goals also include developing the social and commercial complexes surrounding its stops, reducing the number of private vehicle users, reducing traffic accidents, and reducing air pollution resulting from vehicle exhaust fumes. In addition, the project would contribute in building Kuwait’s share of the GCC metro project, encouraging the private sector to participate in development projects and making use of the private sector experiences in a way that would ultimately benefit the local economy.
Kuwait University political sciences professor Dr Hailah Al-Mukaimi said Kuwait’s demography is linked to the state’s strategic thinking, adding that strategies need to change from time to time, especially when statistics show that 72 percent of the expats in Kuwait are marginal laborers. Speaking at a seminar titled ‘Kuwait’s Demography’ held at the Social Sciences College, Mukaimi said Kuwait has an ambitious strategy including the 2035 vision and the Silk Road project. She added that much has to be done to resolve demographic imbalances, especially in terms of unemployment. “Do we have real or fake unemployment?” she wondered, demanding rethinking educational curricula.
Social sciences professor Dr Yaqoub Al-Kandari said demography should be viewed in relation to national security and development. He explained that national security means getting rid of fears that threaten individuals’ social lives, which calls for more efforts by state officials and official bodies to provide social stability and welfare. “Security plays a great role in achieving any society’s development,” he underlined, noting that security threats, economic stability and cultural invasion pose local challenges.
Kandari added that by reviewing the nationalities of those involved in crimes as per Ministry of Interior (MoI) statistics, expats were a majority in a number of cases, especially in drug trafficking, while Kuwaitis are a majority in terms of drug abuse and possession. He said the total number of crimes committed by citizens in 2010 was 755 compared to 615 committed by expats. He also noted that 150 citizens committed drug trafficking crimes compared to 278 by expats in the same year, which shows that expats procure and traffic in drugs, while citizens are only users.
In addition, Kandari said governmental instability played a role in demographic imbalances, explaining that 15 cabinets had been formed since 2006, and the maximum term of relevant ministers was insufficient to tend to the problem, as the maximum term at the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor (MSAL) was three years, seven in the housing ministry and six in the ministry of planning.
Further, Kandari said according to the 2011 census, Kuwait’s population comprised of 3,085,635 expats and 1,351,955 citizens; ie 64.4 percent expats. He added that expat manpower has multiplied 5.4 times in the period between 1957 and 1996, and that the majority of them were illiterate and those with low qualifications – at 72 percent. “The problem does not lie in expat workers – but rather in the fact that the majority of them are marginal,” he concluded.
Iraqi border security announced foiling an attempt to smuggle drugs into Kuwait through the Safwan border exit in Basra, said security sources, noting that the drugs had been hidden in a truck coming to Kuwait.
Statistics issued by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor (MSAL) showed that the total sums collected from citizens who had unlawfully received social aid in the period starting with the fiscal year 2013-2014 until now is KD 4,887 million; ie 18.3 percent of the total unlawfully paid sums of KD 26,727,000. Informed sources added that the new sums in the fiscal year 2017-2018 totaled KD 9,831,000 and that only KD 442,000 was collected.
A proposed amendment of the legal proceedings law number 80/1980, namely article 153, has been listed on Tuesday’s parliamentary session’s agenda after the proposal was approved by the legislative affairs committee. The committee explained that the suggested amendment aims to double the grace given to file a contest at the court of cassation against verdicts made by the court of appeal from 30 to 60 days.
The committee said after consultation with relevant bodies, the ministry of justice stated that the period of 30 days is not enough for indicted individuals to get a copy of the verdict and study it prior to contesting it before the court of cassation, which was seconded by the Supreme Judicial Council, which only suggested extending the period to 40 days.
By A Saleh, Staff Writer