Kuwait oil minister quits after eight days in post

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KUWAIT, Nov 5 (Reuters) The government of OPEC-member Kuwait has accepted the resignation of its new oil minister, Bader al-Humaidhi, just eight days after he took the job at the world's seventh-largest oil exporter.

Changing the oil minister usually has no effect on Kuwait's oil export policy, which is set by a council that includes oil industry and other government officials.

The resignation came amid a standoff between parliament and government that has virtually paralysed decision-making in the Gulf Arab state for much of the year.

''Humaidhi has presented his resignation in writing, stipulating his reasons ... to the prime minister, putting the best interests of Kuwait ahead of his,'' Deputy Prime Minister Faisal al-Hajji was quoted as saying by state news agency KUNA.

The cabinet was informed on Monday that the resignation had been accepted, he added. Newspapers earlier reported that the country's ruler had rejected Humaidhi's resignation.

Humaidhi offered to quit after some lawmakers opposed his appointment because they disagreed with his policies in his previous post as finance minister.

An Islamist MP asked to question Humaidhi last month after media reported he had made financial and administrative mistakes as finance minister.

The oil portfolio had been vacant since June, when Sheikh Ali al-Jarrah al-Sabah quit after about a year in the job, to avert a no-confidence vote by MPs in a similar dispute.

Domestic political controversies and changes at the top of the oil ministry have left Kuwait struggling to stay on course to meet its 4 million barrels per day oil capacity target by 2020, analysts say. Kuwait's current output is around 2.46 million bpd.

The cabinet, in office since March after the earlier government resigned to avoid a no-confidence vote against a minister, voiced hope on Monday for an end to the standoff with parliament.

''The cabinet expressed its sincere desire to work actively with the parliament on the basis of reciprocal confidence and respect,'' a government statement said. ''It also welcomed any constructive criticism aimed at benefitting the public's interest ...'' Friction between the legislature and the cabinet has delayed reforms such as a long-planned project to boost oil output with the help of international firms, and cutting tax on foreign companies.

The Gulf Arab state, which sits on about 10 per cent of global oil reserves, wants to emulate the success of neighbours Dubai and Bahrain, which have diversified their economies away from oil.

REUTERS MP AS0256

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