KUWAIT: Islamist opposition MP Mohammad Hayef said yesterday that he will file to grill Finance Minister Nayef Al-Hajraf today over his insistence to use usury or interest rates in loans given to pensioners. The lawmaker went to the Assembly Speaker’s office yesterday to file the grilling but the acting Speaker MP Awdah Al-Awdah arrived at the Assembly only after the official hours, raising constitutional constraints for submitting the grilling.
Hayef told reporters that he will file the grilling today and that it will be based on two issues both related to the use of interest by the Public Institute for Social Security which is under the Finance Minister. The lawmaker, who grilled the Finance Minister just before the close of the previous Assembly term in June over the same issues, said that he made his decision to file the new grilling after the outcome of the Assembly Financial Committee meeting held on Sunday.
He said that the committee virtually made no change to the previous system which is based on taking a high interest on cash taken by pensioners for exchanging a part of their pensions. A number of lawmakers have pressed the minister and the government to change the system to abolish interest and provide pensioners a new system in compliance with Islamic Sharia law.
Hayef said that statements issued by the head of the financial committee clearly indicate that the Finance Minister has refused to change his mind and accordingly he is breaching the country’s constitution and laws. The grilling will be listed on the agenda of the opening session of the Assembly new term on October 29. The grilling could be debated on that day or delayed for the next session based on the readiness of the Finance Minister.
Hajraf has been threatened to be grilled by several lawmakers including one by MP Riyadh Al-Adasani over a variety of issues. Adasani described the grilling as one of the biggest in Kuwait’s history that would tackle major financial issues like the budget and the country’s sovereign wealth fund.
By B Izzak