Kuwait Industries Union discussed the latest developments on the cooperatives and their relation with the industrial sector in a special meeting that yielded important decisions in this regard, said a press release, Thursday.
The release said the meeting was attended by Deputy Premier and Minister of Commerce and Industry Abdelmehsin Al-Medej, Minister of Social Affairs and Labor and Minister of State for Planning and Development Hind Al-Subeeh, members of Kuwait Chamber of Commerce and Industry and representatives of a host of state bodies, local factories and industrial establishments.
The decisions included exemption of national product from rent and shelving fees, as well as appointment of financial and administrative supervisors at coops to avoid delay in settling payments due on coops.
Minister Al-Medej said the issue of settling coops' dues to local merchants dealing in national products was a main problem discussed at the meeting, adding that there were actually many ministerial directives in support of national products that had been "ignored" and stressed those involved in cheating in this area would be held accountable.
For her part, Minister Al-Subeeh said she was keen to assign priority to the coops dossiers since taking her post. She is following up on coops issues on a weekly basis, she noted, and pointed out she is determined to see a hike in the manufacturing sector's contribution to the GDP to 12 percent.
Regarding payment by coops to suppliers, she said the ministry devised a mechanism whereby supervisors are to be appointed to ensure payment in timely manner.
The minister said the committee co-formed by the Industries Union, the Cooperatives Union, and the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor is ready to receive and respond to any complaints. She added that of the 56 coops covered, "some are responsive, while others are not." The ministry just finished all procedures regarding election of members of the board for 13 cooperatives, and the decisions taken are to be compulsory to the 13 bodies as of May. The remaining cooperatives are expected to comply by July at the latest, she added.
When it comes to supporting national product at coops, she said the cooperative sector has a plan to better inform the public and stress the importance that they support national product. Implementing decisions in this area would ultimately save money that went into rent and such in the past which could be put to better use and invested in improving national product quality.
"The ministry also assigned a phone number to receive any complaints against or regarding cooperative societies; 69009600," the minister said.
Board Chairman at Kuwait Industries Union Hussein Al-Kharafi for his part expressed optimism over the meeting. "It is imperative to put ministerial decisions taken years ago into action and give industrial investors the support they need to improve their products and to encourage cooperation between them and the coops union.
"Having seen the state's serious efforts to address the hurdles facing the agricultural sector, we now see interest in solving the problems facing our industrialists." Shedding light on the solutions suggested to address the industrialists' problems with the coops, Assistant Undersecretary for Coops Affairs at the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor Mutar Al-Mutairi said the measures proposed were divided into three phases.
The official said the first phase involves obligatory inclusion of national products to coops goods lists and giving them attractive price. The second phase involves the promotion of such goods and giving them best shelf placement at coops and exempting them of shelf fees. The third phase, he noted, concerns competition among producers and suppliers of national products.