Kuwait Times, Sunday, Jan 22, 2023 | Jamadi Al Thani 29, 1444
Assembly panel to withdraw loans bill if govt hikes wages
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.