Assembly Approves Development Plans To 2020
Private Sector Key
KUWAIT CITY, Feb 11: The Parliament on Wednesday approved the development plan for fiscals 2015/2016 to 2019/2020 in its first and second readings with 33 votes in favor, four against and one abstention. It also approved the 20th report of the Finance and Economic Affairs Committee on the annual plan for 2013/2014, medium-term development plan for fiscals 2010/2011 to 2013/2014, and report of the State Audit Bureau (SAB) on the development plans of ministries and other government departments for fiscal 2012/2013.
Meanwhile, Minister of Social Affairs and Labor and State Minister for Planning and Development Affairs Hind Al- Subaih explained that the idea to have a five-year development plan starting from April 1, 2015 to March 30, 2020 stemmed from the vision of HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al- Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah to transform Kuwait into a financial and commercial center. She said the plan focuses on human development with strategic objectives: to increase gross domestic product, effective government administration and make the private sector a key partner in the implementation of strategic projects.
She said the government used contemporary indicators to know Kuwait’s situation and teams have been formed to follow up the projects weekly. “We have learned from the mistakes in the first plan and we are now focusing on private sector participation. Funding for several projects will be done through this sector,” she explained.
She added the Cabinet has formed a committee tasked to study bureaucracy and find appropriate ways to reduce it. She affirmed the committee has presented a number of recommendations, formed a panel whose members are from two ministries, and gained vast experience in the classification of projects.
She said they also noticed that the planned structure does not match the development plan, so a committee was formed under the chairmanship of His Highness the Prime Minister to address the issue. She then confirmed the appointment of an executive director for mega projects and the latter is closely monitoring these projects in a bid to overcome obstacles. This is in addition to the formation of a higher committee to address demographic issues and help generate job opportunities.
Meanwhile, Minister of Oil Ali Al-Omair asserted the oil sector is determined to develop the oil industry in order to contribute more to the State’s coffers. He affirmed that Kuwait Petroleum Corporation contributes large-ly in addressing community issues, citing the Ahmadi Hospital which serves 18,000 oil sector employees and their families — around 60,000 people.
On the scholarship issue, the minister said Kuwait has a program for this and more than 200 employees have completed their studies. He went on to say the oil projects are being implemented as planned and will be completed in the coming years. “We wish to see positive results at the beginning of 2018 and we want to increase production to 270,000 barrels per day by 2030.
This is a vital project with an estimated cost of $4 billion dollars. Its economic and development returns are huge,” he stressed. Furthermore, the Parliament approved the Family Court Bill in its second reading. In the report of the Legislative and Legal Affairs Committee, it was mentioned that the explanatory note of the bill states it was drafted due to the difficulty in handling personal status cases along with others like the penal and civil cases in one place, because a personal status case is about the most delicate concerns of families.
This requires the establishment of a special headquarters for personal status case hearings to be held away from criminal and civil briefing sessions to serve the interests of families and the society as a whole. According to the committee’s report, one of the advantages of the bill is a separate building for the family court, away from the other courts to prevent those involved in criminal cases from mingling with the young ones. Another advantage is the shorter litigation period which will end in the appeals stage as there will no longer be a challenge to the ruling through the cassation unit in order to save time and effort. A specialized judge will handle disputes related to the decisions and judgments issued by the Family Court, leading to speedy implementation and removal of obstacles which slow down the process.
The second article of the bill, after the amendment approved by the Parliament, stipulates formation of the high personal status circuit at the Family Court consisting of one judge. It also stipulates formation of the appeals circuit with three advisors from the Appeals Court. The Supreme Judicial Council should, at the request of the head of the High Court, entrust all or some personal status circuits at the Family Court to advisers of the Appeals Court for three years, subject to renewal in accordance with the rules and regulations specified by the council. Among the advantages of the bill is the establishment of centers for the settlement of family disputes to ensure reconciliation or settlement between the parties. It also gives members of the settlement office the freedom to contact directly the disputing parties, away from their agents. They can also visit houses to personally look into the causes of conflict in a bid to nip the problem in the bud and settle the conflict amicably.
The bill includes a stipulation on the creation of a specialist prosecution for family affairs to be in charge of the tasks entrusted to the public prosecutor in the family court and appeal circuits. It is mandated to intervene in cases presented to it and give its opinion whenever requested to do so; otherwise, the rule becomes null and void.
Article Three of the bill stipulates that the Family Court should cater to all Kuwaitis and non-Kuwaitis regardless of their religion, or sect. The bill also requires establishment of centers to end differences in a place where a child is present with one of the parents or with whoever has the right to see him. In order to achieve social solidarity, the family insurance fund was established to implement rules and decisions concerning alimony — whether temporary or permanent — the children or relatives, which cannot be implemented through normal procedures. The fund should be under the control of the Ministry of Justice and it should be covered by the annual budget of the ministry. In another development, the Parliament also approved a draft bill on the unified system for GCC nations in dealing with substances that deplete the ozone layer, commercial brands system for GCC countries, agreements between Kuwait and Cuba, Lithuania and Greece to encourage investment and avoid double- taxation.
Moreover, the Parliament has agreed to extend the working period of the committee tasked to investigate the multimillion deposit and transfer cases until the end of April and it returned the Kuwait Municipality bill to the Public Utilities Committee for further study. Parliament Speaker Marzouk Al- Ghanem adjourned the session until Thursday to discuss the Audit Bureau’s report on the alleged violations in the final accounts of many government institutions.