The parliamentary Budgets and Final Accounts Committee on Tuesday discussed the projected revenues in the budgets of ministries and government departments for fiscal 2015/2016 in the presence of Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Anas Al- Saleh. Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Committee Chairman Adnan Abdul Samad disclosed the total revenue is estimated at KD 12,052,075,000.
He said the estimated total revenue is 66 percent lower compared to the previous fiscal year, indicating that 88 percent of this revenue is from the oil sector. He explained the projected oil revenue is based on the price in the international market which is $45 per barrel and an exchange rate of 290 fils per dollar while Kuwait’s stake approved by OPEC is 2,700,000 barrels per day.
He pointed out the estimated budget deficit will shrink due to the expected increase in the selling price of Kuwaiti oil and the value of the dinar against the dollar. He was quick to clarify though that the deficit will continue if the oil price remains lower than the breakeven point in the budget, estimated at $77, after deducting the share of the Future Generations Reserve Fund. Meanwhile, Rapporteur of Legislative and Legal Affairs Committee MP Abdul Hameed Dashti confirmed that the panel endorsed the Human Rights Commission Bill on Tuesday.
He said Interior Minister Sheikh Mohammad Al-Khalid and his team, Justice Minister Yacoub Al-Sanei and his team, and representatives of Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor attended the meeting. Dashti revealed other topics discussed in the meeting include the Juvenile Law, amendment of the General Investigations Department Law, Information Technology Crime Law and the Cybercrime Bill. On the other hand, Justice Minister Yacoub Al-Sanei asserted “the Information Technology Crime Law came at a time we lack laws on such crimes.” He affirmed that the government and the Parliament have reached an agreement in this regard and it will be voted on next Sunday.
He warned the issue has become more dangerous, citing as cases in point the proliferation of drug-related crimes due to the availability of modern technology and advanced drug trading methods, electronic piracy and hacking websites of State institutions. He emphasized the importance of this law, particularly in protecting the children and youths from those involved in various electronic crimes. Furthermore, the Human Resources Development Committee tackled a number of issues on Tuesday; such as the amendment of the End-of-Service Benefit Law, draft bill on the appointment of leaders and decree on leadership positions.
Committee Chairman MP Khalil Abdullah said the proposed amendment of the End-of-Service Benefit Law will be included in the agenda of the next parliamentary session. He disclosed the revised law stipulates exemptions for those who reached 65 years old and those with severe disabilities. On the appointment of officials, Abdullah explained the government has presented to the committee a legal memorandum stating that the existing law serves its purpose; hence, there is no need to pass a draft bill in this regard.
On another issue, MP Saud Al-Hariji has denounced the statements made by Minister of Education and Higher Education Dr Bader Al-Essa against the Segregation Law. He lamented the minister even went as far as saying that Kuwait will save KD 750 million if the co-education system is implemented in the university. He stressed the lawmakers will not allow anyone to challenge laws passed by the National Assembly. He said Kuwait is an oil-rich country and it doesn’t need to save KD 750 million through the cancellation of the Segregation Law. “We would rather spend billions of dinars to protect our virtues and fight against vices. We will not tolerate any attempt to contravene Islamic tenets and Kuwaiti traditions,” he concluded.