Minister of Oil and State Minister for National Assembly Affairs Dr. Ali Al- Omair’s decision to change the board members of Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) has drawn mixed reactions from lawmakers. While some welcomed the decision asserting it is a step in the right direction in terms of developing the oil sector, others think the move is wrong as it will negatively affect this vital sector especially when the well-experienced and old members are removed from the board. MP Askar Al-Anazi rejected the decision considering the KPC board has yet to complete its term.
He warned the minister about the dire consequences of this step, asserting the lawmakers will not sit idle in front a decision deemed harmful to the oil sector which is the primary source of State revenues. He said the decision is a manifestation of the government’s failure to manage its affairs. He wondered why the minister took this decision when the oil sector is busy preparing for the implementation of a strategy to increase production to four million barrels.
MP Faisal Al-Shaye stressed the decision was rushed and random; hence, it could lead to huge losses and put the oil sector in a difficult situation. He urged the Cabinet and top officials to calm down and refrain from taking hurried decisions, such as the replacement of board members and resignations. MP Khali Abdullah appealed to the concerned authority to avoid creating problems in the oil sector, noting some officials in the sector were surprised by the changes. He said these changes might lead to problems in the future, stressing that the oil minister should he held responsible once the problems surface.
MP Abdullah Al-Mayouf warned against politicizing the oil sector especially when the international oil price is unstable. He appealed to the oil minister and top oil sector officials to avoid settling scores or retribution as such actions will only make matters worse. MP Madhi Al-Hajiri outrightly rejected the decision, specifically the alleged intention to appoint people from outside the sector because this will only lead to chaos in the oil sector.
He said nepotism, favoritism, and completion of political and party transactions between the minister and the government at the expense of public interest; are unacceptable. He pointed out the tenure of the incumbent board will end in 2016 and there is no justification for appointments from outside since this move will only harm the oil sector.
On the other hand, MP Majed Musah welcomed what he considers a reformative step taken by the oil minister. He argued it is good to pump new blood into the oil sector, affirming this is a positive turn of events. He said everyone is aware of the problems in the sector due to disagreements between the board members of KPC and that of its subsidiaries.
He added these disagreements have negatively affected essential projects which are supposed to generate job opportunities for Kuwaiti youths,. He reiterated the minister’s decision will contribute to efforts to polish policies for oil sector development. MP Faisal Al-Kandari expressed disappointment over the stand of some people whom he accused of failure to serve public interests. He said change is part of daily life and any positive change in the sector will surely move the development wheels forward.
MP Mansour Zafiri believes the decision is appropriate because pumping fresh blood into this vital sector is one of the keys towards its development. He indicated that as the oil sector passes through a new development phase, some changes should be made. He hopes the new board of directors will be more cooperative and work in the interest of the nation.
MP Abdul-Hameed Dashti asserted the oil minister has fulfilled the wish of the parliamentarians who have been calling for restructuring of the KPC board. He said the minister and the Cabinet emerged victorious when they responded positively to the demand of MPs. Meanwhile, the parliamentary Finance and Economic Affairs Committee on Thursday discussed the proposal to amend the Public Tenders Law with State Minister for Cabinet Affairs Sheikh Mohammad Al- Abdullah. Speaking to reporters after the committee meeting, Sheikh Al-Abdullah confirmed the committee is working efficiently and he hopes to witness approval of the proposal soon. He said the government and Finance Committee fully support the proposal, since it guarantees transparency and equal opportunities; in addition to eliminating anomalies in the awarding of tenders.