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Press Dossier    By Date   22/01/2023 Assembly panel to withdraw loans bill if govt hikes wages

Kuwait Times, Sunday, Jan 22, 2023 | Jamadi Al Thani 29, 1444

Assembly panel to withdraw loans bill if govt hikes wages

Kuwait: The National Assembly financial and economic affairs committee is prepared to withdraw a controversial draft law to purchase bank loans of Kuwaiti citizens, which has strained relations with the government, if the government pledges to raise wages and improve the standard of living, head of the panel said. MP Shuaib Al-Muwaizri said the decision was taken at a meeting by the panel on Thursday, a move that could pave the way for renewed government-Assembly cooperation.

He said members of the committee agreed that if the government pledges in the next session on Jan 24 to “increase salaries, pensions of retired citizens and social aid for Kuwaiti divorcees and widows”, the panel will withdraw the draft legislation in the same session. Muwaizri added the government should also pledge to improve the living conditions of citizens and halt rising prices. “Our hands are extended to the government. Make those pledges and we will withdraw the draft law,” Muwaizri said.

The government has strongly rejected the draft legislation that requires the government to purchase billions of dinars of loans owed by over half a million Kuwaitis to local banks, write off interest and then deduct the principal of loans in easy monthly instalments. The government said the draft legislation is very expensive because the total amount of debt exceeds KD 14.6 billion. MPs insist the total value of consumer and personal loans is less than KD 2 billion and the cost of their purchase is manageable.

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