KUWAIT: MP Faisal Al-Kandari yesterday urged Health Minister Jamal Al-Harbi to find a quick solution to the health insurance problem after he cancelled the private company’s contract. The cancellation has resulted in massive crowds at health insurance centers and long delays for stamping or renewing residence permits, because health insurance is a precondition for residence processing.
Two weeks ago, the health minister said the ministry plans to not renew its contract with the private company that has been entrusted with issuing the health insurance, citing delays in issuing the documents. After that, the company started to delay issuing health insurance, apparently deliberately in protest against the planned cancellation of the contract. This has resulted in long queues of expatriates lining at health insurance centers, with some people starting to line up as early at dawn. Delays in residence processing could end up in fines.
MP Kandari said obtaining health insurance documents currently takes several days against only a few minutes in the past, because there is no alternative company to replace the existing one. The lawmaker urged the authorities to immediately sign a contract with another company and called on officials to visit the health insurance centers to see the large number of people there.
Meanwhile, the National Assembly’s legal and legislative committee yesterday approved a key amendment to the nationality law under which children of Kuwaiti women married to non-Kuwaitis will be entitled to get Kuwaiti citizenship on par with children of Kuwaiti men. The amendment will now go to the interior and defense committee to study the amendment and prepare its report to the Assembly. Thousands of Kuwaiti women are married to foreigners, but their children are not allowed to obtain Kuwaiti citizenship like children of Kuwaiti men. The clause has been repeatedly criticized as discriminatory by human rights activists and societies.
The committee also approved a proposal stipulating that the ministry cannot stop electricity and water supplies to private homes – a reference normally used to describe homes owned by Kuwaiti citizens – before a final court order. Rapporteur of the committee MP Mohammad Al-Dallal said the proposal applies only to private homes owned by citizens. It does not apply to apartments rented by expatriates. Dallal said the committee plans to discuss a number of important issues at its next meeting like the election commission, reducing the duration of preventive detention and others.
The Assembly’s financial and economic affairs committee yesterday discussed a proposal calling on the state-owned Public Institution for Social Security to stop charging interest on loans it offers to pensioners. Rapporteur of the committee MP Safaa Al-Hashem said the committee found that the institution was charging huge interest on such loans without any reason. She said that no decision has been taken as the panel awaits a technical report on the issue.
The Assembly resumes its ordinary meetings tomorrow after a three-week break, with a number of important issues on its agenda topped by the grilling of Information and Youth Minister Sheikh Salman Al-Humoud Al-Sabah over the sports suspension and alleged financial and administrative violations. The Assembly is also due to debate the government’s economic reforms and is finally scheduled to hold a lengthy debate on amending the demographic structure of the state by reducing the number of expatriates.