On its electronic web page, the Al-Qabas newspaper conducted a poll and asked the opinion of readers on the draft bill to reduce the retirement age of male government employees to 55 years and the period of service to 25 years and the retirement age for women 45 years with actual service of 20 years. As expected, a majority voted for the bill. It was like a mass suicide committed by groups of whales who headed to the seashore and ended their lives on the sand.
The very possibility of this draft law being approved makes me sick. If it happens, it will mean we have a death certificate for the moral concept of an entire nation, certificate of failure and injustice that it causes to the future generations because it disregards the responsibility of an individual towards the society. When the Public Institute for Social Security was established, the average age of men and women was lower than it is now.
This was accompanied by a rise in the life expectancy due to improvement in physical and mental health of an individual. Many people complain of emptiness after retirement and the desire to return to work, even when they are in their 70s.
Thus, as in many developed nations, the job of a legislator was to raise the retirement age, not reduce it. Men and women usually go to work after graduation either from high school or university in their early 20s. Under the proposed law, women will retire, for example, 20 years later, at the beginning of their 40s and since their life expectancy in Kuwait is close to 80 years, it means they will remain largely unproductive and not work for nearly forty years, a little bit less than man in this regard. Is it logical? Is the legislator aware of this unjustified depletion of the funds doled out by the Social Security, not to mention the negative impact of the draft law, socially and morally? It is illogical to say that the productivity of a government employee is originally low, and that it is better to pay for early retirement to make place for others but it does not alleviate the burden on the Social Security institution. There is no guarantee that the replacement of the retired employee will work better.
The solution is not to cut down on unemployment, but to increase the productivity keeping in mind bridging the salary gaps for example between employees of the Municipality and the petroleum sector. In this sense, we strongly oppose such manipulations which are contained in the pension draft law. We also strongly oppose any proposed amendments to the Nationality Law submitted by some supporters who seek to achieve their personal interests and to satisfy some of their voters at the expense of the interests and stability of the country.
By Ahmad Al-Sarraf