By B Izzak
KUWAIT: HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Sabah yesterday met around 10 MPs and discussed with them the government’s position towards a proposed general amnesty law to pardon political activists. MP Ahmad Al-Azemi said the meeting also tackled other issues like cooperation between the Assembly and the government and popular issues including housing, education, health and others.
The lawmaker said the meeting focused on the need to pardon a group of former opposition MPs and activists who have been living in exile in Turkey for more than two years. The Assembly’s legal and legislative committee yesterday discussed the general amnesty law and invited authorities to send their views on the legislation within two weeks, head of the committee MP Khaled Al-Enezi said.
He said the committee also discussed draft laws for amending the election law and for Kuwaitization of government jobs. The government was given two years to send its views on these bills, after which the committee will invite the concerned minister for discussion, Enezi said. The Kuwaitization law aims at replacing a majority of expats in government jobs with Kuwaitis.
The move comes after new Commerce and Industry Minister Faisal Al-Medlej dismissed all foreign consultants at the ministry and banned the appointment of non-Kuwaitis in such positions. Employees working in the following government agencies will be affected: Supreme Council for Planning and Development, Civil Service Commission, Public Authority for Manpower, Environmental Public Authority, Central Statistical Bureau and Kuwait Authority for Privatization.
MP Hasan Jowhar meanwhile sent a series of questions to the prime minister and the ministers of finance and health about the number of expatriate employees in government bodies under their authority. In his question to the prime minister, Jowhar demanded to know the number of non-Kuwaiti consultants employed in bodies under the Cabinet, the terms of their appointment and their qualifications and pay. He also asked about the reasons of not appointing Kuwaitis in their jobs.
In his questions to Finance Minister Khalifa Hamada, the lawmaker asked about the number of non-Kuwaiti employees, their salaries, qualifications and experience, who are employed at a number of state-owned companies like the Industrial Bank, Kuwait Cement Co, Kuwait Airways and others.
He also demanded the same information about companies in which the government owns 25 percent or more of their capital. Jowhar also demanded to know the size of public deposits at all local banks and the interest rates on them. He asked the minister for the number of Kuwaitis employed at local banks and their percentage of the workforce.
The lawmaker asked Health Minister Sheikh Dr Basel Al-Sabah to provide him with the number of expat employees at the ministry of health, their qualifications and salaries. National Assembly Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanem said yesterday the Assembly office has been formed and it will meet today to decide the schedule of Assembly meetings.