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Panel told quake not down to oil

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Special session called on retirees

KUWAIT CITY, June 12: The Environment Affairs Committee on Sunday met experts from Kuwait University and oil sector. Committee Chairman MP Hamad Al-Matar said most of the experts, including Professor Ferial Bu Ruraie and Dr Mubarak Al-Hajri affirmed that oil production has nothing to do with the earthquake which hit the country recently. He revealed the center of the earthquake is about five kilometers deep, while the deepest drilling for oil is only 1.2 kilometers. He was quick to point out though that the issue is still debatable, asserting it is obvious that there is no direct relationship between oil drilling and earthquakes.

Meanwhile, National Assembly Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanim has invited the MPs and government to the special session scheduled for June 14 to discuss issues concerning retirees, particularly the proposed amendment of the Public Institution for Social Security (PIFSS) Law. He believes the retirees’ issues are urgent, affirming the special session is in accordance with the Constitution and that he respects the views of those who think otherwise. He said the MPs who agree that the session is in line with the Constitution are welcome to attend the session, while those who think otherwise have the freedom to boycott the session. He argued the retirees should not be dragged into political disputes and they deserve a response to their demands.

He then expressed his gratitude to the Legal, Legislative, Financial and Economic Affairs committees for completing their report on the bill. He affirmed the required majority for the passage of the bill is available and he is sure that the government will attend the session, disclosing he had earlier met with His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khalid and several ministers. He clarified that has not been officially informed about the attendance of the government, but he is sure the government is keen on protecting the interests of retirees. He added the Assembly will vote on the bill, indicating the MPs can submit another proposal if they have comments on the current bill.

Earlier, the parliamentary Legal, Legislative, Financial and Economic Affairs committees held a joint meeting to deliberate on the bill. In a statement to the press, Legal and Legislative Affairs Committee Chairman MP Ahmed Al- Hamad disclosed that the government requested for clarification of some articles in the explanatory memorandum and text revisions, which do not affect the purpose of the law. He affirmed the two committees approved the KD3,000 incentive for retirees and KD30 pension increment for this year; indicating they agreed on implementing the proposed KD20 pension increment per year on Aug 1, 2023.

Meanwhile, MP Osama Al-Shaheen submitted a proposal to stop cutting the shift allowance of doctors whenever they go on leave. He explained this proposal is aimed at preventing the exodus of doctors from public hospitals to the private sector, especially since they played a vital role during the Covid-19 crisis. In another development, MP Bader Al- Humaidi forwarded queries to Minister of Health Dr Khalid Al-Saeed about the long confinement of many Kuwaitis and expatriates at Jahra Hospital and other public hospitals. He wants to know the total number of these Kuwaiti and expatriate patients, their medical conditions, and if the ministry contacted their families to continue their treatment at home. He also requested for copies of the lists of patients waiting for an appointment in public hospitals. Furthermore, Assembly Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanim sent cables to Chairman of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation Volodin Vyacheslav Victorovich and Chairwoman of the Federation Council Valentina Ivanovna Matviyenko on their National Day. Al-Ghanim also sent cables to Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Philippines Lord Allan Velasco and Senate President Vicente Sotto III on their Independence Day. By Saeed Mahmoud Saleh Arab Times Staff

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