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Nine lawmakers urge quick discussion on debt relief

The National Assembly

KUWAIT: Nine lawmakers yesterday submitted a letter calling on the Legal and Legislative Committee to quickly review a proposal stipulating that the government purchases bank debt owed by Kuwaiti citizens. MP Majed Al-Mutairi, who renewed a year’s-old proposal that was rejected in the past, said nine lawmakers signed a letter asking the Legal Committee to clear the constitutional aspects of the proposal. If approved, it will go to the financial and economic affairs committee to study details and cost of the proposal.

The initiative calls on the government to purchase all consumer and installment loans owed by Kuwaiti citizens to help them meet rising cost of living demands. Mutairi said earlier that the proposal will not cost state coffers anything since the government will use its huge deposits with local banks and investment companies.

The lawmaker said that state deposits at local banks, about KD 10 billion according to unofficial estimates, are placed at very low interest rates and if the government raises those rates slightly it can utilize the difference in paying for citizens’ loans over several years. As of now, there are no official estimates of citizens’ loans at banks but previously they were put at around KD 4 billion. Mutairi said his proposal had received impressive backing from within the National Assembly. 

MP Osama Al-Shaheen yesterday warned of an imminent crisis of lamb meat in the country based on information that Australia, the main live cattle exporter to Kuwait, plans to suspend its supplies for a few months every year. The lawmaker said that consumers were recently surprised by a sharp rise in the price of lamb meat, double the previous price in some cases, based on reports of the expected Australian export ban.

He asked the Commerce and Industry Minister Khaled Al-Roudhan if the reports that Australia will stop exporting sheep to Kuwait for two to four months every year starting 2019, were correct.  He asked the minister about what measures the ministry has taken if the news were correct. Shaheed also asked the minister about the role of the consumers protection department in safeguarding the interests of the people. The lawmaker also asked if the export stoppage was only for Kuwait or it includes other countries. 

MP Al-Humaidi Al-Subaie said yesterday he will not vote in favor of the second and final reading of the early retirement law if it was not amended.  The law was passed in the first reading after a number of key government amendments were accepted but several MPs want to see changes to the law before approving it.

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