The Parliament approved Wednesday the final accounts for fiscal 2013/2014 and link budgets for fiscal 2015/2016 of the Public Authority for Assessment of Compensation for Damages Resulting from Iraqi Aggression (PAAC), Public Authority for Minor Affairs (PAMA) and Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) with 37 votes in favor and one against.
However, the committee rejected the final accounts for fiscal 2013/2014 of some independent institutions such as the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research (KISR), Zakat House and Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED) while their link budgets for fiscal 2015/2016 were approved. In response to the request of the Budget and Final Accounts Committee Chairman MP Adnan Abdulsamad, the Parliament agreed to remove the budget and final accounts of the Public Authority for Youth and Sports (PAYS) from the table of discussion for further study. He added the State budget will be discussed in the sessions slated for June 29 and 30.
During deliberations on the issues concerning PAYS and KISR, MP Jamal Al-Omar pointed out the problem lies in the concerned authorities’ lackadaisical attitude towards the comments of the State Audit Bureau on the alleged financial and administrative violations in both institutions. He claimed some ministers have ignored these comments.
Talking about the compensation for damages caused by the Iraqi invasion, MP Saadoun Hammad Al-Otaibi disclosed the remaining compensation for environmental damages is about $35 billion. He wants to know if the $4 billion compensation, which the Iraqi government has not paid until now, is part of this amount. He claimed the environmental compensation paid to Kuwait earlier was not used for the implementation of oil and environmental projects as it went to Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA).
Responding to the lawmaker, Minister of Oil Dr. Ali Al-Omair explained the total amount of environmental compensation that has been received so far is $2.970 billion and three percent of which were used for administrative expenses. He said there was a misunderstanding at the beginning due to inaccurate information.
At the time, the money was forwarded to KIA for investment but when the United Nations confirmed that the compensation was for environment projects; not for investment, the ministry returned the money to be allocated for environment, marine and land projects, he added. In another development, MP Abdullah Al-Mayouf has alleged that the KISR director appointed a retired employee with a salary of KD 4,500 while the Civil Service Commission (CSC) specified a salary of KD 2,000 for the additional work of this employee. He said KISR has been asking foreign companies to do research work for the government, even though this is part of its tasks. He alleged KISR is using only one percent of its budget for research work.
Commenting on the same issue, Minister of Education and Higher Education Bader Essa stressed that his ministry is working hard to stop all violations in its subsidiaries. He promised to address all flaws and violations soon, affirming the ministry has been cooperating with the Parliament and the State Audit Bureau in this regard. Also, Minister of Justice, Awqaf and Islamic Affairs Yaqoub Al-Sanei vowed to eliminate most violations, if not all, in PAMA. He confirmed the ministry has started taking measures to solve the problems.
State Minister for Cabinet Affairs Sheikh Mohammed Al-Abdullah Al- Sabah, who spoke on behalf of First Deputy Premier and Minister of Interior Sheikh Sabah Khalid Al- Sabah, promised to look into the bureau’s comments on the purported violations at KFAED. After the discussion, Parliament Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanim adjourned the session until June 2, 2015.
In another development, Minister of Communications and State Minister for Municipality Affairs Essa Al- Kandari disclosed the government has informed the parliamentary Financial and Economic Affairs that it has no objection to the idea of maintaining the staus of Kuwait Airways Corporation (KAC) as the national carrier.