Kuwaiti government lays out four-year plan to parliament

Kuwait held elections in September after Crown Prince Sheikh Meshaal dissolved parliament to end a political stand-off

Kuwaiti Prime Minister Sheikh Ahmed Nawaf Al Sabah at a parliamentary session in Kuwait City. AFP
Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

The Kuwaiti government presented its four-year plan of action to parliament, based on introducing major political, economic and social reforms a year after political tensions between the two bodies caused a delay in much-needed programmes.

Speaking to the National Assembly on Tuesday, Finance Minister Abdulwahab Al Rushaid said the government under Prime Minister Sheikh Ahmed Nawaf Al Sabah is building foundations to achieve the strategic goals of the state.

Mr Al Rushaid, however, emphasised to parliament that the success of any plan largely hinges on co-operation between ministers and legislators.

He said the plan involved “restructuring the government apparatus and transforming it from the operator of economic activities to the regulator and observer thereof, while empowering the private sector, which plays a major role and is a partner in promoting the development process and advancing the state’s foundations”.

Kuwait held early elections on September 29 after Crown Prince Sheikh Meshaal dissolved parliament to end a political stand-off between the government and the legislature that was hindering fiscal reforms.

Discussions on Tuesday included the passing of legislation that will provide homes to 40 per cent of housing applicants on the government’s waiting list, as well as the creation of more than 30,000 jobs and raising the country’s credit ratings.

The opposition won major gains in the previous parliamentary election with the hopes that they would work closely and not combatively with the government run by Sheikh Ahmed, a son of the ruling Emir Sheikh Nawaf.

Kuwaiti parliament speaker Ahmad Abdulaziz Al-Sadoun, centre, during the Kuwait parliament special session in Kuwait City, October 25, 2022. EPA

Of the 50 seats up for election, 28 were won by opposition candidates as 20 former MPs were ousted, including three former ministers. Two women won seats, unlike the previous election when no women were elected.

The Financial and Economic Affairs Committee on Wednesday discussed proposals for draft laws in the presence of the relevant government agencies.

“The topics of the proposals are related to providing decent livelihoods for citizens and some other important issues. We hope that all these proposals will be approved for the benefit of the Kuwaiti people, so we look forward to working with the government in the coming week before next Thursday’s session,” said MP Shuaib Al Muwaizri, the parliament’s finance committee chairman.

MPs on Tuesday voted in favour of passing a law that would address conflict of interest and strip MPs of parliamentary immunity. The law passed on Tuesday stipulated jail terms and substantial fines for ministers, MPs and civil servants who misuse their positions to make personal gains.

Speaking on national television late on Tuesday night, former MP Ali Al Deqbasi said signs were positive between the current parliament and government in working together despite former feuds.

“There is much more awareness from the general public and the government and parliament that past feuding really hindered the process of reforms and we cannot allow political bickering to be placed above the interest of the Kuwaiti people,” Mr Al Deqbasi said.

Updated: December 15, 2022, 7:55 AM