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Govt’s decree on returning Early Retirement Bill to Parliament ‘rejected’

Parliamentary panel finalizes its report on bill

KUWAIT CITY, Oct 9: The parliamentary Financial and Economic Affairs Committee has finalized its report on the Early Retirement Bill.

The committee rejected the government’s decree on returning the bill to the National Assembly for revision, rebutting justifications given by the government.

It will then forward the report to the Assembly for deliberations and passage of the bill once again. In its report, the committee pointed out that the Assembly approved the bill on May 15 and referred it to the government for implementation in the last legislative term.

Therefore, Article 66 of the Constitution applies as it is stipulated that “the request for review of a proposed legislation shall be made through a decree setting forth reasons for the request. Where the National Assembly readopts the proposed legislation by a two-thirds majority of the members constituting the Assembly, the Amir shall sanction it and promulgate it within 30 days of his notification.

Where such majority is not obtained, the proposed legislation shall not become effective unless, at a subsequent legislative term, the National Assembly reaffirms the proposed legislation by a majority of the members constituting the Assembly. In such event, the Amir shall sanction it and promulgate it within 30 days of his notification.”

The report also includes the finance minister’s opinion on the matter. The minister said the bill is riddled with constitutional complications, violates laws and intensifies financial strain on the State’s general budget. He also affirmed that the government more than welcomes any proposal from the MPs provided it contributes to solving constitutional complications.

On the other hand, the Public Institution for Social Security (PIFSS) has confirmed its keenness on maintaining the integrity of its salary fund to ensure fulfillment of its financial obligations. For this reason, the institution actively seeks to maintain balance between its collections and allocations; but the implementation of the aforementioned bill will only disturb the balance even more than its current state. The institution also argued that majority of social security authorities around the world are working towards increasing the age of retirement, yet it has been cooperative with the general directive of the country and submitted a number of proposals on optional early retirement, but they were not taken into consideration.

In contrast, the committee found neither constitutional complications nor violation of existing laws as the optional early retirement policy stands on its own — independent from all conditions for early retirement currently enacted by PIFSS.

The committee pointed out that balance between collections and allocations cannot possibly be affected as the numbers on either side are not changing. In another development, MP Mohammed Al-Huwaila, during the last legislative term, submitted a proposal for clinics to provide primary medical care to patients in a bid to reduce pressure on hospitals. The Assembly approved the bill, but it has yet to be implemented.

This has prompted the MP to address Minister of Health Dr Bassil Al-Sabah; urging the latter to implement his proposal and provide clinics with the required medical practitioners and equipment to offer primary medical care, similar to Al-Rigga Clinic which has its own emergency unit.

By Ahmed Al-Naqeeb Arab Times Staff

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