The Parliament unanimously approved the Financial and Economic Affairs committee report on the National Fund for Supporting Small and Medium Enterprises in its first and second readings. The bill has been referred to the government for approval and implementation.
According to the law, a KD 2 billion ($7 billion) capital is allocated for the fund to achieve the objectives of the Small and Medium Enterprises. The law also stipulates that the fund will finance a maximum of 80 percent of the enterprise and the applicant will bear the remaining 20 percent.
The law describes the Small and Medium Enterprises to include industrial, business, farming, handicraft, service, intellectual activities or any economic project which directly contributes to developing and diversifying the national income sources and meets the needs of local or foreign market as well as providing job opportunities to citizens and developing value of free work in them and the self-ability in any of the fields mentioned above.
During the discussion of the bill, Chairman of the committee, Yousef Al-Zalzalah expressed the need to pass this bill to give what he called opportunities for young Kuwaiti to depend on themselves "and I wish that my colleagues will give a nod to this bill to set the stage for the youth since the bill is fully studied."
The Minister of Commerce and Industry, Anas Al-Saleh added "this law was long-awaited and that is a completion to the unemployment law which the Parliament approved the previous day.
Rapporteur of the committee Safa Al-Hashim explained the law came after many years of waiting and if passed it will serve as a channel for opening the door of hope for the youth. She added, the government should take advantage of the law to prove its quality of performance.
She said the law talks about achieving the dream of HH the Amir of transforming Kuwait into a financial and commercial hub because Kuwait is a one-sided source of revenue.
She suggested the responsibility of this fund should be the Savings and Credit Bank and not the ministerial administration so as to avoid bureaucracy and long administrative process. In this regard she cited the example of United Arab Emirate (UAE) which has adopted a similar project successfully by placing it under the supervision of the development bank.
She added the small and medium enterprises is not only designed to end the problem of unemployment but also build a real economy for the country and cited the example of the British experiment with Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) which she said had started with £2 billion fund and successfully made profits of several billions.
The Assembly also approved an amendment to the Companies Law in its first and second deliberations and another bill on judicial arbitration in its first deliberation as well as four international agreements pertaining to crises situations and combating crime, corruption and money laundering.