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Officials warn of ‘negative impact’ of pressure to replace expats with Kuwaitis

KUWAIT: High-ranking oil sources called for avoiding ‘compulsory employment’ in the oil sector, warning that pressure in this direction and politics or pressure-driven replacement of expats with citizens would have a negative impact on budgets, revenues and even projects. The sources added that one of the impacts of such pressure is talking about fake certificates and accrediting them, which nobody knows how far it might develop because it is too complicated.

“The oil sector only approves degrees endorsed by accreditation bodies,” the sources stressed, noting that 5,332 citizens had been appointed in the oil sector since 2014 and that ‘Kuwaitization’ had reached 89.5 percent, the highest nationalization percentage in GCC states. The sources said the oil sector had been employing more Kuwaitis than its budgets and potentials allow. “The sector has a limited capacity according to vacancies and plans. The more projects we have, the more jobs there will be,” they stressed, noting that some technical jobs require hiring people with plenty of experience to protect billions of Kuwaiti dinars.

Excellent performance bonuses
The Civil Service Commission (CSC) agreed to pay excellent performance bonuses to 300 municipality employees working in various departments on monthly payment conditions, provided the needed sums are available in the municipality’s budget, said informed sources. Meanwhile, an administrative decision was issued on transferring 291 municipality food inspectors to the food and nutrition authority effective Monday, April 1, the sources added, noting that another decision on transferring 300 others will be issued later.

In a similar development, informed sources said in accordance with CSC regulations and conditions, the Ministry of Health (MoH) had allocated KD 8 million for excellent performance bonuses for its employees, expecting the bonuses to be paid by May or June. The sources explained that bonuses for doctors, consultants and department managers will be KD 1,500, those for pharmacists and technicians will be KD 1,300, KD 1,000 for heads of sections and nursing staff, KD 800 for employees and administrative staff and KD 400 for assistant staff.

Further, the sources explained that conditions to get the bonus include having at least one year of service by the end of 2018, having an excellent assessment report for the previous year, not receiving any disciplinary penal measures in the same year, and not to have exceeded the maximum of 15 days – excluding hospitalization – of sick leaves during the same year. The sources added that those working shifts should have worked at least 70 percent of the shifts and 180 days of actual workdays.

Uber shares
Well informed official sources at Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA) said the authority indirectly owns shares in Uber, which is about to be listed on the New York bourse to increase its market value to $120 billion, adding that the shares had been bought through international funds and portfolios. The sources added that KIA can earn good revenues from those shares if the funds and portfolios decide to exit.

Notably, as part of its expansion plans, Uber reached an agreement to acquire its Middle East rival Careem, and the deal is expected to be closed during the first quarter of 2020. Uber will pay $1.4 billion in cash and $1.7 billion in convertible notes at a price equal to $55 per share in a deal that gives it full ownership of Careem, while keeping Careem’s co-founders and CEO Mudathar Sheikha in office.

By A Saleh

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