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NA Speaker ‘optimistic’ over agreement on petrol prices – MP Zalzalah wants citizens compensated for petrol hike

KUWAIT: National Assembly Speaker Marzouk Al-Ghanem said yesterday he was optimistic at the outcome of the informal meeting between the government and the National Assembly today to discuss the consequences of hiking petrol prices. Ahead of the highly-anticipated meeting, Ghanem met with the Amir, the crown prince, the prime minister and the minister of finance to discuss the issue. He said it was agreed to continue the meeting today with the prime minister and the finance minister ahead of the assembly-government meeting.

Ghanem stressed that the national assembly will face the economic challenges through smart solutions that ensure that citizens will not be touched. He said he was confident that the meeting will come out with the required positive result, adding that lawmakers are keen to attend the meeting to contribute to finding a solution for the petrol hike issue. The speaker also said that constructive meetings like this one between the government and MPs are capable of overcoming crises between them.

MP Yousef Al-Zalzalah said that the meeting should come with one result to compensate Kuwaiti citizens for the increase in petrol prices in order to avoid further problems between the government and assembly. The meeting was called by the speaker to replace a request by 35 MPs of the 50-member assembly to convene an emergency session for the assembly which is currently on summer recess. The assembly is due to start the new term on October 18.

Lawmakers have warned that the emergency session will be held if the informal meeting fails to come up with the required solution to the petrol crisis. The government decided in August to increase petrol prices by between 40 percent and over 80 percent for the first time in almost two decades. The rise went into effect on September 1. MPs are demanding that Kuwaiti citizens should be exempted from the hike or given financial compensation. None of the lawmakers has called for compensating expatriates.

In another issue, a number of MPs have criticized the management of Kuwait Airways and the government for dismissing or transferring to other government jobs around 36 Kuwaiti pilots. The lawmakers wondered on what basis KAC has taken this measure and demanded explanation from the government.

By B Izzak

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