Minister, unionists discuss oil workers’ demands

Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah
Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah
Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah

KUWAIT: Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs Sheikh Mohammad Al-Abdullah Al-Sabah yesterday met a delegation from the Oil and Petrochemical Industries Workers Confederation (OPIWC) headed by Chairman Saif Al-Qahtani. The delegation also included Mohammad Al-Hajri, Chairman of Kuwait National Petroleum Company’s (KNPC) workers syndicate and Anas Al-Marzouq, Chairman of Kuwait Oil Company’s (KOC) workers syndicate. The meeting, which was held at the Cabinet’s general secretariat office, was dedicated to discussing OPIWC demands. Sheikh Mohammed Al-Abdullah chairs a ministerial committee formed by His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah to study oil sector employees’ demands. Oil workers staged a strike for a few days last month in protest against alleged government plans to cut their benefits.

Energy consumption
Participants at a seminar titled ‘Electricity Fares: between Efficiency and Rationalization’ held at the Kuwait Engineers Association stressed the necessity to use modern and smart technology and renewable energy applications in generating and distributing electricity. “We need to create communal awareness of increasing electricity and water consumption tariffs, especially since the project excludes citizens,” they said.

Member of the association’s energy committee Salem Al-Ajmi said that the aim of holding the seminar was to increase awareness regarding the importance of cutting water and electricity consumption rates. The association’s chairman Saad Al-Muhailbi stressed the need of practical scientific solutions regardless of any political effects of the price increase decision.
Member Nasser Al-Zamanan made a presentation about the reasons behind the decision, noting that exempting citizens’ houses was a political solution because they were only 40 percent of the consumers. He also noted that the new tariff increases included both water and electricity because water was not less important. “Water prices will be increased more than those of electricity,” he underlined, pointing that the smart gauges MEW intends to install must be two-way to allow citizens who use renewable energy sources like solar power to provide the main grid with excess power beyond their consumption.

Health services
The Ministry of Health’s (MoH) Acting Undersecretary Dr Jamal Al-Harbi stressed the ministry’s keenness to develop health services according to the highest levels and international standards. He said that the ministry strives to provide utmost safety and security for patients ‘as an integral part of the ministry’s general development plan.’ Harbi was speaking to reporters yesterday on the sidelines of an event held to inaugurate the ministry’s engineering and projects affairs sector’s first exhibition. Harbi said that the aim of the exhibition is to present brief reviews of health projects carried out by the ministry including new hospitals and their bed capacity. “Jaber Hospital will provide 1,196 beds, Adan Hospital has 637 beds, Jahra Hospital has 955 beds, the new Amiri Hospital has 415 beds, the new Sabah Hospital has 617 beds, KCCC has 618 beds, the new Razi Hospital has 240 and the infectious diseases hospital has 224 beds,” he explained, adding that each hospital would be equipped with an air ambulance helipad while Jaber Hospital would have more than one.

By A Saleh

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