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NA approves budgets, bill amendments

KUWAIT: Reflection of clouds and the National Assembly’s building on the Arabian Gulf’s waters near Shuwaikh Beach. – KUNA photo

KUWAIT: The National Assembly (NA) yesterday approved amendments to a number of laws and budgets of eight state agencies in a special session in which speaker Marzouk Al-Ghanem strongly defended the Assembly budget. MPs overwhelmingly passed a number of key amendments to the corporate law to strengthen the rights of minorities in shareholding companies.

One amendment stipulates that the company general assembly can be held with the attendance of just 10 percent of shareholders instead of 25 percent and raising the duration for inviting for the meeting to 21 days from the current 15. The third amendment obligates companies to distribute dividends within a month after the general assembly meeting and not leaving it open. The Assembly also approved a government-sponsored law to establish the Anti-Doping Agency despite some opposition from several lawmakers who opposed establishing new government authorities at a time of cutting spending.

Only six MPs out of 51 attending the session opposed the law which was passed in two rounds. The Assembly also approved a government sponsored law to authorize the Kuwait contribution of over $536 million into the Asian Investment Bank. Finance Minister Nayef Al-Hajraf told the house that the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah will pay a state visit to China on July 7 – leading a high-level economic delegation.

The minister said that the contribution will give Kuwait an investment role in China. Lawmakers then briefly debated and approved budgets and final accounts for eight state authorities: The Anti-Corruption Authority, the National Assembly, Compensation Claims Authority, Public Food Agency, Public Authority for Publishing Holy Quran, Public Authority for Civil Information, Public Youth Authority and Public Sports Authority. MP Safa Al-Hashem called for merging the Quran Authority with the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic affairs.

The budgets were passed with little opposition but arguments were raised about the National Assembly budget after MP Shuaib Al-Muwaizri claimed that the Assembly budget increased and that it was being used in unnecessary areas with suspicions of violations. Speaker Ghanem defended the Assembly and said that over the past few years, the budget was reduced from KD 60 million to KD 40 million and categorically denied any violation. Assembly officials also said that more Kuwaitis had been recently appointed in the Assembly while the expatriate workforce was reduced by 12 percent.

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