‘Monitor markets, check prices to curb increment exploitation’

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KUWAIT CITY, Aug 30: MP Hassan Jawhar has called on the government to improve the conditions of retirees. According to Jawhar, this is part of the government program approved by the National Assembly. He said Article Four of law number 49/1982 stipulates the need to increase the pension of retirees every two years to cope with the rising cost of living. He pointed out the government contradicted itself as its program states its commitment to improve the conditions of citizens including retirees, and that increasing the minimum salary and pension necessitates legislative amendment; but it has not submitted any bill in this regard until now. He went on to say the government program stresses the need to amend the law on the establishment of the Public Institution for Social Security (PIFSS) in order to improve its financial performance, yet the government did not submit any bill in this regard.

The lawmaker asserted the actuarial deficit is not a justification for the government to delay the pension increment. He added the actuarial deficit is being used as a ‘scarecrow’ even if it is hypothetical. He said some institutions warned in 2007 that some PIFSS funds could go bankrupt in 2018 and in 2030, but no such thing has happened so far. He urged the government and PIFSS to immediately increase the pension of retirees, as the institution can use the profits from investing the retirees’ money for this purpose. He also urged Minister of Commerce and Industry and State Minister for Youth Affairs Muhammad Othman Al-Aiban to closely monitor the markets and control the prices to ensure that the pension increment serves its purpose.

He then urged PIFSS to be wise in investing the three plots granted to it recently with a total area of almost 800,000 square meters. He said PIFSS invested a similar plot to establish a health city in 2012, but the project has yet to be completed. In another development, Jawhar praised the fruits of the visit of HH Prime the Minister Sheikh Ahmad Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah to the United Kingdom; highlighting the importance of the agreements signed by both parties, especially on strengthening cooperation regarding cybersecurity and investment.

He revealed one of the agreements is on the establishment of Kuwait Center for Cyber Security in accordance with law number 78/2018, which approves cooperation with the United Kingdom on cyber security. He affirmed that the British government has the legislative cover allowing it to endorse the offers of the best British companies according to the criteria that Kuwait specified to lay down the national program for cyber security. He added the visit further strengthened the relationship of the two countries.

On the investment agreement, Jawhar said the government program includes attracting foreign investors to establish enterprises in Kuwait. He asked the British party to explore the promising investment opportunities in Kuwait. He underscored the need for the government to review the investment strategy to attract more investments in partnership with the best international companies in order to generate more job opportunities and diversify the sources of national income.

Meanwhile, MP Hamdan Al-Azmi asked Minister of Health Ahmad Al-Awadhi about the number of Kuwaiti doctors, pharmacists, nurses, psychiatrists and social workers at Kuwait Center for Mental Health compared to the expatriates; number of Kuwaiti workers in night shift compared to expatriates; number of vacant supervisory positions; experience and qualifications of those occupying supervisory positions; if they include expatriates; justifications for appointing these expatriates to such positions if any; mental health strategy of the ministry for the next five years; location of other mental health facilities if any; oversight and assessment procedures.

MP Dawoud Ma’arafiforwarded the same queries to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahd and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sheikh Talal Khalid Al-Sabah about the employees in their respective ministries. He wants to know the number of these employees under the following categories: nationals, children of Kuwaiti women married to foreigners, Bedouns and expatriates; actual Kuwaiti manpower needs; number of Kuwaiti graduates hired from 2020 to 2023 including their specializations; if there is an annual recruitment plan; if there are vacant supervisory positions; and number of expatriate consultants assigned at the offices of both ministers, undersecretaries and assistant undersecretaries including their nationalities. By Saeed Mahmoud Saleh Arab Times Staff

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