By Courtney Trenwith
Parliament approves new Public Private Partnership legislation intended to help boost investment in infrastructure
A group of Kuwaiti MPs has claimed a new Public Private Partnership (PPP) law approved on Monday amounts to “selling” the country and “squandering public funds”.
The new regulation modifies the 2008 Build-Operate-Transfer law that at the time was Kuwait’s most extensive attempt to attract foreign direct investment.
Local and foreign private investors will now be able to establish mega projects on public land in partnership with the government for 50 years, rather than the previous 40 years, Kuwait Times said.
But a number of MPs, particularly among the opposition, claimed the new regulation would allow investors to exploit public properties.
MP Jamal Al Omar reportedly called on Finance Minister Anas Al Saleh to adopt measures to safeguard public funds, which the minister refused to agree to.
The parliament rejected an earlier motion to extend the length of PPP agreements for health and education projects to 100 years.
Kuwait has been attempting to boost private investment to develop the country, which has fallen far behind its Gulf neighbours.
Very little major infrastructure, such as roads, education facilities, hospitals, an airport upgrade, has been built since the 1980s.
Public-private partnerships have been instrumental in development in many Western nations, where schools, major roads and hospitals have been established using private investment.