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Assembly okays proposal to amend Social Insurance Law

KUWAIT CITY, May 15: The National Assembly, approved in its ordinary session Tuesday, the proposal to amend the Social Insurance Law in order to reduce the retirement age — with 43 out of 59 members who were present voting in favor of the bill while 16 voted against.

Previously, the Assembly rejected the government’s proposal to increase the percentage of deduction of insurance with 29 out of 46 members present voting against, while 17 members voted in favor. When the Assembly discussed this item, Finance Committee Rapporteur MP Saleh Ashour said the committee did not receive any parliamentary proposal on reducing the retirement age, whereas the government submitted six.

Ashour pointed out that the Finance Committee and the government have different views on increasing the percentage of employees’ contributions to the insurance fund. He explained the committee rejected the proposal because of the required additional contributions for 400,000 employees, while the number of those eligible for retirement reached only 4,222.

On the other hand, Minister of Finance Nayef Al-Hajraf disclosed the government proposed deduction of one percent from the basic salary without affecting the children allowance. He said this applies to workers in all government institutions, including the oil sector.

He explained that for all the insured to benefit from the new law, the government proposed increasing the contributions to two percent such that the amount of contributions will range from KD 6 to KD 30.

The MPs expressed reservations over the proposal of the government on the proportion of the deduction of insurance contributions.

They argued that generalizing the deduction for 400,000 employees will lead to a major imbalance and called for a study on the impact of this bill on the general budget of the State.

The bill stipulates optional retirement for men who have been in service for 30 years and 25 years for women without the requirement of age and non-discrimination between women and others.

The bill allows the insured to retire early – before the retirement pension up to five years maximum and deduction of five percent for each year of pension, in addition to excluding those benefiting from this bill from forced retirement referred to in the Civil Service Law.

On the other hand, the Assembly also approved the request to entrust the Interior and Defense Affairs Committee with the conclusion and consideration of the amendment of the electoral system and voting mechanism

By Abubakar A. Ibrahim Arab Times Staff

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