The government should finalize the strategic alternative to the salary scale to ensure justice among Kuwaiti employees, says member of the parliamentary Human Resources Development Committee MP Khalil Al-Saleh.
In a press conference at the Parliament on Wednesday, Al-Saleh stressed the need for the government to correct flaws in the salary system; especially for employees with the same qualifications. He thanked Minister of Finance Dr. Anas Al-Saleh who presented the draft law, disclosing that 30 to 40 percent of the employees are facing salary- related problems even though they deserve increment. He pointed out that if the government is serious in implementing the strategic alternative, then it must start working towards genuine reforms; taking into consideration the discrepancies in the salaries of workers in the government sector.
He revealed the Human Resource Development Committee had earlier met different workers unions and listened to their views on the proposal. “It is important to keep the workers in the sector rather than seeing them transfer to other companies similar to what happened in Kuwait Airways Corporation,” he added while calling on the government to take serious steps regarding the low salaries
He stressed that the strategic alternative will not affect the salaries of employees in financial and legal positions, indicating all employees should benefit from the proposal and the basic salary should not be frozen because it is related to the salary ladder. He added the government has requested for more time, around two years — until 2017, to prepare the job descriptions. He wondered what could be the fault of employees eligible for salary increase as they have been denied this right for the past years due to political instability.
Meanwhile, Rapporteur of the committee investigating irregularities in London Investment Office Madi Al-Hajiri disclosed the panel is not satisfied with the response of Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA) in Wednesday’s meeting. He asserted the authority’s response is different from that of the Finance Ministry, lamenting there is no longer assurance in KIA since 10 Kuwaiti staff had been instructed to return from the London office through the decision of a certain employee. He said this is in addition to the appointment of a non-Kuwaiti who manages six billion pounds and this raises more questions on the attitude of KIA. He affirmed the committee is now searching for the truth and the reasons behind the return of these employees. He argued the authority’s explanation that the step was taken in line of the policy to replace employees if they have been in service for 10 years is groundless because some workers have been in the office for 15 years.
In another development, MP Rakaan Al-Nisf submitted queries to Minister of Oil and State Minister for National Assembly Affairs Dr. Ali Al-Omair regarding the viral video clip of a dead sheep at the animal quarantine center near Nuwaiseeb. He said the minister has formed an investigative committee to look into the issue. He asked about the total number of animal quarantine centers built by the Public Authority of Agricultural Affairs and Fish Resources, documents related to their activities, department tasked to monitor these centers and results of investigations carried out in the past, if any.
On the other hand, MP Askar Al-Enezi presented questions to Finance Minister Dr. Anas Al-Saleh about the violations of Agility Company, specifically the allegation that the company has embezzled government funds. He claimed the company has been granted government-owned land areas under the pretext of building warehouses, but it rented out these areas to the government and individuals illegally. According to the State Audit Bureau report, Agility forged documents submitted to different governmental bodies to obtain State-owned land; thereby, embezzling public funds estimated at KD 63.5 million.
In light of the above, Al-Enezi asked the government to clarify the issue as he wants to know if an investigation has been carried out. If yes, he demanded for copies of the investigation results and the relevant documents. Moreover, MP Faisal Al-Kandari has reiterated his demand for government authorities to quickly take the necessary action to serve the interests of retirees; particularly the request to increase their pension. He praised the step taken by Health Minister Dr. Ali Al-Obaidi who instructed the ministry officials to immediately complete procedures to grant health insurance to retirees in September. He underscored the importance of serving the interests of retirees in all aspects considering their contributions to the nation.