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Proposed labor law amendments present great danger to economy: KCCI Chief

Bourse’s privatization first true privatization in Kuwait’s history: Ghanem

KCCI President Ali Al-Ghanem

KUWAIT: The proposed amendments to the labor law in the private sector present a great danger to the Kuwaiti economy, especially small and medium companies, which will not be able to bear such costs, a leading Kuwaiti economist said yesterday. Small and medium projects that are being formed currently by pioneers are legally committed to hire Kuwaiti labor, and will be the most harmed from the increase in the cost of the labor element, “which contradicts the state’s vision and our keenness over projects,” Ali Al-Ghanem, President of the Kuwait Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), said in a speech during the 55th general assembly of KCCI.

The National Assembly’s health and labor committee had last week succumbed to pressure by the government and the business community and decided to rescind its earlier approval of increasing the annual leave for private sector employees to 35 days. The amendment had been approved by the committee about two months ago and then passed by the National Assembly in the first reading last month. The Assembly was due to pass the amendment in the second and final reading more than three weeks ago, but the government delayed the vote. The government clearly told the panel that the amendment harms the interests of Kuwaiti businessmen against a minor benefit to a small number of Kuwaitis employed in the private sector.

The overwhelming majority of employees in the private sector are foreigners, who would have been the main beneficiaries of the amendment. “Allowing more than 1.7 million non-Kuwaiti workers to get advantages and exceptional conditions with the claim of attracting Kuwaiti labor to the private sector is unjustified,” Ghanem said yesterday. “It is clear that the proposed amendment looks at the private sector through its strongest establishments such as banks and telecommunication companies, but small and medium facilities make up 90 percent of the sector, and the majority of these facilities cannot financially bear the large financial increase in calculating annual leave.”

Bourse’s privatization
In the meantime, Ghanem said that the bourse’s privatization is the first true privatization in the history of Kuwait. “This success calls upon us to be optimistic,” he said, adding that Kuwait’s ports are considered the most important element in its basic economic structure. He said Kuwait’s political, social and economic history is linked to it being a free, strategically located and highly efficient port.
Ghanem said that after successfully privatizing the bourse, the project to privatize Kuwait’s ports must be a guide to a serious and new direction in attracting direct foreign investment and an effective passage to achieve the development vision which includes northern Kuwait and islands.

Employees’ rewards
Director General of the Public Authority for Manpower Ahmad Al-Mousa said the Civil Service Council responded to the authority’s request to grant its employees the rewards that are decided according to the council’s decision 45/2006 starting from April 1, 2019, and the authority will pay the dues for April retroactively with May’s salary. The decision was taken to prevent any financial discrepancies in monthly salaries between the authority’s employees and those of the Manpower and Government Restructuring Program after activating the Council of Minister’s decision 875/2017 issued on July 3, 2017 to move the program to the manpower authority.

Price control
Head of the Kuwait Union of Consumer Cooperative Societies Khalid Al-Hudaiban said a joint committee between the union and social affairs ministry will carry out inspection tours of cooperatives during the month of Ramadan to monitor prices and ensure there are no artificial price increases. He said the union stands against all attempts by some companies to approve increases in prices, adding that he has designated a hotline for all consumers – citizens and expats – to call and inform about any increase in prices. He said the union is about to receive its new warehouses in Sulaibiya spread over an area of 6,000 m, which provides place to store food supplies of co-ops that do not have enough storage space.

By A Saleh

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