His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah affirmed that the government's position concerning the writing off of loan's interests "is that it (the government) has no objection to taking any step in the interest of the Kuwaiti people and would never oppose it".
His Highness said during the meeting with a number of Kuwaiti writers and Journalists "some people might confuse the government position over the writing off of loans' interests, because its position consists of two parts, and the government has no objection to taking any step in the interest of the Kuwaiti people and would never oppose it".
His Highness added that the government is keen not expose the Kuwaiti banking sector to any negative effects, because the issue of writing off loans' interest has technical and social dimensions which should be balanced, so that any decision we make must be in the context of preserving the reputation of our banking sector on the regional and international levels.
His Highness highlighted that the issue is not about the estimated budget designated to pay the interests of loans, saying that the government is an honorable opponent and will not tolerate seeing anyone suffer from injustice in Kuwait. I think that by the will of Allah matters will be solved and the issue of loans does not go against the government to obstruct it, but we stand with what is right without damaging our banking institutes and the interests of civilians.
In response to a question regarding the government exaggerating the number of housing units that the it intends to build, His Highness said that the housing projects and the building of new cities is on top of the government and Kuwaiti people's priority list. The statements are not exaggerated because the Minister of State for Housing Affairs viewed and examined housing companies and visited many countries. It is possible for international companies to build integrated housing cities as well as providing electricity and water services and much more, adding that the money has been allocated, lands are available and what remains is to find capable companies to build these cities.
His Highness pointed out that he will work in cooperation with the legislative authority to issue specific legislations to exempt these housing projects from obstructive routine procedures to carry out projects like these as it's a government priority especially that these companies will bring approximately one hundred thousand workers and the routine might delay bringing workers like these to execute projects. The government will work to facilitate and simplify the procedures according to the regulations.
The Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs and Minister of State for Municipality Affairs Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah explained that the government along with the National Assembly have agreed to set priorities for cooperation between the two authorities, first and foremost; enact an unemployment law to represent the largest segment of Kuwaiti work force which are around 450,000 employees.
He also added that among other laws is the law of working in the private sector and small projects law, both were endorsed recently by the National Assembly in addition to the BOT and Food Authority that will enable the government to impose large penalties on those who bring rotten food, Telecommunications law, Cooperative Societies law, Consolidated Media law, amendments on Nationality law, law of prior and subsequent control and the law of organizing the exploitation of space lands that was amended by an emergency decree "and that law will facilitate the work of big companies to build projects".
He emphasized that these laws are prioritized by the government and the National Assembly, they will reflect positively when endorsed on civilians", pointing out that the fields of education, health care, housing and retirees don’t require any new laws "and should they require amendments, we hope that the national assembly will take the initiative to suggest any amendments to be discussed in the parliamentary committees with the presence of the government".
The Minister of Information and Minister of State for Youth Affairs Sheikh Salman Al-Hmoud Al-Sabah said that the consolidated media law that the government plans to present combines the two laws of publications and distribution of visual and audio materials in one law.
Sheikh Salman Al-Hmoud pointed out that the law of publications issued and implemented in 2006 and the law of visual and audio distribution issued and implemented in 2007 displayed some negative points when they were implemented that needed legislative amendments as publications law faced the publications companies whose capital accounts for 49% for the Kuwaiti side and 51% for the foreign entity which will hinder the investment as matters lie.
He also added that there were many issues the law didn't address such as electronic distribution and social networks. Most penalties are dealt with according to the penal code which includes financial penalties and imprisonment contradictory to the concept of free media.
He also explained that this law is considered to be a facility to media personnel and the Ministry and it became a necessity to have a particular law to deal with the listed items. It is in this regarded considered to be a huge leap because there is a worldwide tendency towards unifying and simplifying legislations, pointing out that the government put into consideration the most important basic principles of the law to promote the freedom of media and to replace prison sentences with financial penalties ", in general this will support the image of Kuwait on media" pointing out that once the government completes the law, it will submit it to the National Assembly.
On the government failure to sufficiently promote its projects in a clear manner, His Highness said: I personally noticed this disregard despite the variety of TV programs, yet rarely does a show explain the importance of these government's projects, and upon visiting other countries we notice that the officials in these countries focus heavily on promoting their development projects through the media.
His Highness the Prime Minister affirmed his keenness for the media to have a special status in the country "and when I took the office of the Ministry of Defense I was keen to establish a fourth pillar for the media besides the Ministry's main pillars which are land, navy and air.
His Highness said that the media "transforms defeat into victory and vice versa, it lifts morale". He expressed his deep confidence in the presence of a conscious media that has the sense to plan forward.
In this context, His Excellency the Minister of Information and Minister of State for youth Affairs Sheikh Salman Sabah Al-Salem Al-Hmoud Al-Sabah explained during the meeting that based on the instructions of His Highness the Prime Minister a decision has been taken to form a committee for the state media speech and this committee is responsible for drawing the foreign and local media policies pointing out that there is a tendency to establish media offices in all state institutes to communicate with audiences regarding various media issues.
Sheikh Salman Al-Hmoud added that the State media forms part of the media organization as a whole and His Highness the Prime Minister was keen to instruct government members to adopt the development of the cultural and media environment of the country in general, especially through activating the role of official spokesperson in the cabinet.
He also pointed out that some changes have occurred to the mechanism of promoting projects through setting bigger budgets related to marketing and promotion, according to basic steps that we currently execute with much effort, emphasizing that the Ministry of Information aspires to a more expansive investment in the media whereas the Kuwaiti media still requires development of its official institutes.
His Highness the Prime Minister revealed that he will name a specific day of each week to receive citizens "to voice their complaints against administrative authorities and at the same time to relieve the pressure off the National Assembly" emphasizing that any official in any administrative authority will be held accountable for hampering the administrative work and obstructing the interests of citizens.
Replying to a question regarding whether there are initiatives to bring points of view closer between the government and the opposition, and whether the government will accept the constitutional court ruling regarding the amendment of the voting law, His Highness answered "I feel that you speak bitterly, we don't and will never tolerate the division of Kuwaiti people and as we respect the opposing point of view the opposing point of view should respect ours.
His Highness said "the dispute has reached to the extent that each party seeks to twist the arm of the other party".
His Highness affirmed that the government will accept the constitutional court ruling regarding the voting law, as others should acknowledge publicly their respect to the court ruling, and the government will be the first to agreeto the court ruling.
His Highness stressed that the government's doors are open "we don't force anybody to come to us and in return won't go to the other party to satisfy them" asserting that there is a conflict in view points and that is a good thing, but we won't accept for that conflict to reach a level of hatred between us, we must sacrifice for the sake of Kuwait.
His Highness explained when the elections law along with the constituencies' numbers was amended to twenty five with two votes, there was opposition to that amendment, yet the opposition participated in the elections and won it.
His Highness the Prime Minister also asserted that dissolving the National Assembly is in the hands of His Highness the Amir, and respecting the constitutional court ruling is an obligation to all.
His Highness denied that there is any initiative for dialogue between the government and the opposition, however there are individuals hoping to bring the conflicting points of view closer.
His Highness also added that according to the Kuwaiti constitution the government controls the country's institutes and we agree with the view that "centralization" has proved a failure; governorates must have a free hand to take the apt decisions in some administrative areas of expertise within the limits of the governorates.
His Highness pointed out that the government has discussed the issue of limiting administrative centralization in principle, i.e. to grant more power to the governorates, considering that the concept of centralization became outdated and falls short of fulfilling the present day requirements. If each governorate enjoys its powers then it is possible to solve part of the problems such as traffic congestion and housing units as it would be possible for the private sector to bear a part of the burden through privatization.
He also emphasized that "the government accepts purposeful and constructive criticism as well as conflicting points of view" , high state officials don't have any problem with that either, nor have they any tactics to disrupt, on the contrary the government works with complete transparency and serious cooperation with the National Assembly to achieve development in the country.
Answering a question whether the government deals with the current National Assembly as a temporary Assembly or not, His Highness said that the government and the National Assembly are cooperating to the fullest extent for the sake of Kuwait and we don't obstruct opinions of the members of parliament as they are free to demonstrate and share their visions and positions, because there is no more blocs to influence the MPs position or their convictions.
In connection to what one of the MPs brought up regarding the existence of the so called "Iraq's Mahdi Army" in Kuwait, His Highness refuted such allegations stressing on the importance of checking the validity of rumors that are circulated, "emphasizing at the same time his strong confidence in the people of Kuwait and their deep awareness that speaks to mind and reason".
His Highness clarified his position regarding the exploitation of the media by some members of the ruling family in carrying out their own agenda, His Highness emphasized that "political ambition is legitimate amongst members of the ruling family if it is in the interest of Kuwait and the Kuwaiti people, and I personally was amongst some brothers that were a source of trouble at a time when we did not use MPs or the media to grab the attention of the political leadership to our ambitions and visions for action and reform and above all I am prepared to listen to any member of the ruling family and to their points of view and suggestions.
His Highness also pointed on more than one occasion that he appealed to MPs to stop manipulating the emotions of citizens and driving them to the streets at election time and thereafter, stressing on the importance of leading the street not to be led by it out of responsibility and alerting the government and its institutes to errors in orde to correct them and deal with them without media sensationalism that may deviate from the desired reform path.
Regarding the disruption of the country's demographics His Highness Sheikh Jaber Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah said that the government is heading to limit unnecessary foreign labor in the country in an attempt to reduce remittance abroad through attracting productive workers with their families which will benefit the country and the Kuwaiti market and fight the phenomenon of unbridled labor that violates the law.
His Highness highlighted that the government has the clandestine shopper project which will carryout field work to monitor the performance of government institutes, and the work is being done to implement this project in the way we hope and wish to achieve, stressing that any person who lags in his work will not last in his job whatever his position.
Replying to a question regarding Kuwaiti- Iraqi relations after postponing the anticipated visit of His Highness to Iraq more than once and the recent events at the borders of both countries, His Highness said "the incident at the borders is over and both parties agreed to tear down the encroaching houses". In the same context, he continued that at the outcome of the meeting of His Highness the Amir with the Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister during the last Arab summit which convened in Doha discussed His Highness the Prime Minister’s anticipated visit to Iraq affirming that he is prepared for the visit but waiting the invitation from the Iraqi side.
His Highness added that the visit will be important for both parties to settle all pending issues which we hope to be solved with brotherly understanding explaining that a commercial, economical and media delegation will be accompanying his official delegation.
Regarding the reliability of the United Arab of Emirates' speech which was addressed to the State of Kuwait pertaining to the existence of a connection between Kuwaiti citizens and a Muslim Brotherhood cell which was accused of an attempted coup d'état, His Highness refuted these allegations out ruling any information on the connection of these citizen with the accused cell. He affirmed in case of the court ruled against the suspects in UAE proving the involvement of Kuwaitis then we will not remain silent and will take necessary action with the cooperation of our brothers in the concerned departments in the Emirates.
And regarding those who violate sport authorities and unions laws in the absence of accountability, His Highness highlighted that the government carefully considered taking any action that might affect our participation in international sport events, affirming that the government will not tolerate and will not abandon its dominance over different bodies and institutes.
And regarding the government's future vision on the means of disburse the surpluses and the future generation reserves, His Highness the Prime Minister explained that future generations must benefit from these reserves and those are the generations who will witness the cessation of oil production in the country, affirming that the future generations reserves are safe and were'nt affected by the economic crisis.
He also pointed that the deficiency and hesitation in taking decisions in the previous stage won't happen again with the current government, stressing that he won't back down in taking any decision that contributes to reform or punishes those who violate the law.
In response to a question regarding the accuracy of what was attributed to His Highness Sheikh Jaber Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah during the Saddam’s Invasion of Kuwait saying that "those who stayed in Kuwait are traitors" His Highness denied this shameful and implausible allegation saying "no one in his right mind would believe this and I don't know the purpose behind it, I stayed eight days during the invasion wandering around Kuwait and following the situation closely until they contacted me and informed me to leave Kuwait immediately and take assume the task of managing Kuwait's radio station which started broadcasting from Al-Kahfji in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
His Highness the Prime Minister commended the points and questions raised by the journalists concerning government performance and the situation in the country, saying "there is no good in you if you didn't voice them and no good in us if we didn't listen. The government fears nothing even the obstacles that might hamper its efforts, it has a clear vision which will lead us to the welfare of Kuwait and its citizens under the noble directives of His Highness the Amir".
His Highness expressed his satisfaction and pride at the tasks journalists' carryou,t he considered them important and demanding duties, emphasizing that he will put into consideration everything discussed by the journalists during the meeting and the importance of supporting them further in the future.
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