The National Assembly approved, during its follow-up session on Wednesday, a number of bills stipulating additional appropriations for budgets of ministries and other government departments for the 2018-2019 fiscal year. The draft laws were endorsed with 50 MPs in favor and five others against, out of the attending 55 lawmakers.
Accordingly, KD319.5 million (US$1.05 billion) was earmarked for the Ministry of Health (MoH). The MPs approved another sum amounting to KDone million (US$329 million) to cover costs of medicines and chemical substances. They also approved KD219.5 million (US$ 723 million) for social benefits – including KD19.5 million (US$64 million) to cover medical insurance for the retirees, in addition to KD two million (US$649 million) for medical services abroad.
In part, the bill stipulates that the allocations for the health sector are to be deducted from the State public reserves. For the oil sector, they okayed KD nine million (US$2.9 billion) for refined petroleum products and locally marketed liquefied gas. For higher education, they blessed the allocation of approximately KD53 million (US$175 million) for the Ministry of Higher Education. These sums are to be deducted from the public reserves. The assembly approved purchasing untraded assets at approx. KD3.271 billion (US$9.9 billion), during the parliamentary session on the public budgets for the 2019-2020 fiscal year.
Addressing the parliamentary session, Minister of Finance Dr. Nayef Al-Hajraf voiced satisfaction that the MPs approving the required allocations quickly. Minister Al-Hajraf lauded the parliamentary committee’s appreciation of the government efforts to tackle issues such as unsettled accounts and excessive spending. The Ministry of Finance succeeded, this year, in tackling cases involving KD720 million (US$2.3 billion) and would handle, regarding projected accounts, KD341 million (US$1.1 billion), minister Al-Hajraf said.