KUWAIT CITY April 16: The Ministry of the Interior has adopted a decision to increase the proposed fees on the residence of foreigners in the country, reports Al-Shahed daily. According to the decision the fees for dependents (joining the family) is set at KD 300.
The decision also includes a payment of KD 30 for each visit visa and temporary residence KD 20. The decision is expected to be referred to the National Assembly for approval.
Meanwhile, according to other reports a decision is in the offing to increase traffic fines and intensification of penalties to deter those who commit serious traffic violations.
According a statement from the General Traffic Directorate these violations pose a serious danger to pedestrians and other motorists and put their lives at great risk.
KUWAIT CITY, April 17: A draft law stipulates imposing tax on certain goods including 100 percent tax on energy drinks and tobacco, in addition to 50 percent tax on fizzy drinks, reports Al-Anba daily.
The daily obtained a copy of the draft law which also stipulates fine of KD 4,000 for failure to enforce the law and reward for those who report anyone found to have violated the law. This comes concurrently with the Saudi Consultative Council’s approval of the Selected Goods Law which will be referred to the Saudi Cabinet for implementation.
Implementation of the law is in line with the agreement of GCC countries on imposing selected goods tax that targets harmful and luxury items. Selected goods tax is an indirect tax collected from importing companies while the manufacturers and consumers will bear the cost since it will be added to the prices of such goods.
This step also aims to help consumers give up harmful goods. Meanwhile, the proposal to grant KD 50 fuel allowance to each citizen with a driving license will cost the State budget more than what it saved from the fuel price hike, reports Al-Anba daily quoting financial sector sources. Sources argued the proposal defeats the purpose of increasing fuel prices — to rationalize consumption and avoid collecting money from citizens.
KUWAIT CITY, April 17: Member of Financial and Economic Affairs Committee in the Parliament MP Saleh Ashour disclosed that they deliberated on the suggestion to include children of Kuwaiti women married to non-Kuwaitis in the fund for Kuwaiti students who pay for their school expenses.
In a press statement after the committee meeting on Monday, Ashour revealed the representatives of Higher Education Sector requested for more time to present their views on the suggestion.
On the other hand, Ashour said the panel members have agreed to include in the pension scheme all Bedoun military personnel who participated in the liberation of Kuwait.
In another development, Ashour urged HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah to face the recent grilling motions. “It is unthinkable for us to agree on referring these motions to the Constitutional Court or any other entity or postpone them,” he asserted.
Ashour added he is against the idea of referring such motions to the Constitutional Court or the Legislative and Legal Affairs Committee, or to postpone them indefinitely. Meanwhile, the Budgets and Final Accounts Committee in the Parliament discussed Monday the budgets of Kuwait Fire Service Directorate (KFSD) for fiscals 2015/2016 and 2017/2018 as well as the comments of financial controllers and State Audit Bureau. Committee Chairman MP Adnan AbdulSamad said the panel fully appreciates the role of firemen who face difficulties in carrying out their tasks, while clarifying that presenting observations does not mean belittling the firemen’s unique efforts as it is rather aimed at ensuring funds are used to achieve goals of the directorate. He then enumerated various issues tackled in the meeting as follows:
• Internal audit management — Despite the State Audit Bureau’s report about good developments in internal audit management, the internal audit unit in the directorate has yet to be put under the highest supervisory authority and it needs more employees to match the workload. The committee observed that internal audit units in many government agencies are not under the supervisory authority while there is confusion in their work mechanism, hence, the need for governmental solution.
• Management of contracts — Contracts and tenders must be reviewed to prevent repetition of previous mistakes such as approving payment of a contract worth KD 254,000 although it was not reviewed by the State Audit Bureau. This requires thorough investigation because it is considered a financial irregularity as confirmed by the bureau. The bureau also noticed low rental value in some of the contracts of telecommunication companies operating for support stations for more than 10 years. These contracts must be updated with new rental values in coordination with the Ministry of Finance and there should be bank guarantees whenever the contracts are renewed.
• Recruitment — The Civil Service Commission (CSC) praised the KFSD for correcting the error of the Employment Affairs Department which must fill the employment gap in a number of centers that reached 232 jobs according to the bureau’s assessment, taking into consideration the budget for the new fiscal year includes 37 public employment posts and 410 fire service jobs.
• Fire engines and projects — The new fiscal year budget includes approximately KD11 million for the purchase of land and marine machinery and firefighting equipment with the committee’s commitment to approve funds required for upgrading engines that regulators might find inefficient considering the disbursement of more than KD 13 million in the past four years for this purpose. The final account of the directorate showed lack of spending on eight construction projects, including the design of fire stations in a number of areas despite the necessity to implement these projects immediately in order to meet the people’s needs.
By Abubakar A. Ibrahim Arab Times Staff
KUWAIT CITY, April 17: The higher committee tasked to address the lopsided population structure will most likely suggest a ceiling on the number of expatriates in the country, reports Al-Qabas daily.
Expatriates currently constitute two thirds of the country’s total population of 4.4 million. This has prompted several lawmakers and officials to call for plausible solutions. Lawmakers who voiced objection to the huge expatriate population have been pushing for drastic measures such as imposing different types of taxes on expatriates.
Meanwhile, those who are against such measures argued it is unfair to attack the most vulnerable segment of the society; stressing that action should be taken against those who encouraged these expatriates to enter the country without securing jobs for them.
Therefore, the higher committee presented six recommendations to address the issue as follows:
1. Reduce the number of visas allotted for citizens to hire domestic workers by up to 50 percent.
2. Around 25 percent reduction in the number of visas allotted for security companies with government contracts.
3. Set a time limit of about 10 to 20 years for expatriates in certain employment categories to stay in the country, after which they must leave without giving them right to return.
4. Reduce the number of visas that anyone living in the country can apply for annually. This should be done in coordination with the General Information Systems Department at the Ministry of Interior.
5. Enact a law to double fines for breaching residency rules.
6. The weight of population structure imbalance in the country lies on absconding domestic helpers who enter the labor market randomly.
This necessitates enactment of a law to punish anyone who helps or incites any expatriate worker to escape from their sponsors.
It has been reported that at least 600,000 people of different nationalities are currently working as domestic helpers in the country and they constitute around one fourth of 2.4 million domestic workers in GCC nations – Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates (UAE).
An Indian couple has been detained for interrogation and charged with negligence after their child fell to her death from the third floor apartment in Mahboula, reports Al-Rai daily. The daily added, the parents were taken into custody after they rushed the lifeless body to the Adan Hospital. During interrogation the parents denied the charge of negligence but later admitted to leaving the child alone in the house. According to the daily the infant was less than a year old.
KUWAIT CITY, April 17: Securitymen from the Criminal Investigation General Department arrested a Pakistani for using black magic and tricks for Asian housemaids in exchange for KD 50. According to a security source, the suspect receives a large number of Asian housemaids in his house in Sharq where he performs black magic and tricks for them to ensure their sponsors treat them well at a fee of KD 50. When the officers raided his apartment, they found magic tools and other related items. Meanwhile, a Kuwaiti found magic tools in Al-Qasser Park in Jahra so he informed a religious person who verified the items.
KUWAIT CITY, April 15: About 1,000 students of Pakistan Excel English School are facing the risk of suspension of their studies in the school following the announcement made by the school owner concerning an intention to transform the school into an Arab school in the academic year 2018/2019. This announcement has resulted confusion and chaos among the guardians of the students.
The school administration affirmed that it has informed the guardians of all students last week that the current academic year (2017/2018) will be the last for studies under foreign system in the school. It highlighted that the owner was long given green signal by the General Department for Private Education to transform the school into an Arabic school despite a ministerial decision that bans transfer of license from foreign to Arabic system.
In an interview with Al-Seyassah daily, a number of guardians expressed their disappointment over the school decision.
They lamented that this move is a stumbling block for them and their children, given that it will be very difficult for their children to continue with studies in that situation, as well as the scarcity of schools nearby and the vast differences in school fees and educational standards.
The General Department for Private Education has informed the owner of the school to coordinate with nearby schools concerning the transfer of the students there after obtaining approval from their guardians.
Meanwhile, Ministry of Education has announced postponement of implementation of national tests for measuring performance of education system in Kuwait (Meeza) for fifth and ninth grades by two academic years. The tests, which are subjected to a random sample of students, are aimed at measuring students’ knowledge in basic subjects such as Arabic, English, mathematics and science.
The tests only include the general education sector and come in national form and standards with the aim of detecting strengths and weaknesses in the students’ performance, diagnosing learning problems and determining the factors that may negatively affect their performance and measuring the extent of student achievement at the end of each study phase.
By Rana Salem Al-Seyassah Staff