Nod to more incentives for special needs people
KUWAIT: The National Assembly yesterday approved several amendments to the law governing people with special needs, granting them more financial and other incentives. The new amendments stipulate granting such people a monthly assistance of not less than KD 300 per month, according to the degree of their disability, until the age of 21. People who continue their university studies will enjoy the assistance until the age of 28. Disabled people who go for postgraduate studies can continue to receive the assistance until the age of 45.
Another amendment stipulates to cut the service period for disabled people to be allowed to seek retirement to 15 years for males and just 10 years for females. The pension for retired disabled people can be as high as 100 percent of their last salary. During the debate, MPs called for adopting stringent measures to examine people for disability and to apply penalties in the law against those who illegally receive benefits intended for disabled people.
A number of MPs also called for raising assistance to disabled people and to their relatives, especially their mothers, to account for the high cost of living.
In other business, MPs agreed to debate today a report on the investigation into the $2.2 billion penalty paid to petrochemicals giant Dow Chemical after Kuwait unilaterally scrapped a multibillion-dollar joint venture with the US firm. MPs had repeatedly claimed that Kuwait rushed the payment of the fine ordered by the International Chamber of Commerce, which acted as an arbitrator. The Assembly panel probed all aspects related to the issue which began in 2008, and submitted its conclusions to the Assembly.
During the debate yesterday, Minister of Social Affairs and Labour Hind Al-Subaih said that the ministry has applied the law against those who raise funds illegally. She said that Kuwaitis involved in such activities are asked to pay a penalty, while expatriates are handed to the interior ministry to be deported immediately. She said this year, Kuwait was praised by the US Congress and Department of Treasury, and the country did not receive any criticism for illegal charity work.
The minister was responding to remarks made by MP Saleh Ashour, who said he did not get a clear answer about a question on advertisements for unlicensed fundraising campaigns. He said that the interior minister referred him to the social affairs minister, who said that she has notified the interior ministry. Ashour said that Kuwait is a member of the international treaty to combat terrorism and should drain its sources of funding, and accordingly authorities should apply the law correctly.
The Assembly also decided to assign its bureau to discuss the status of 16 laws that have been passed by MPs but were not implemented by the government. MPs demanded that the issue should be debated in a special session. MPs also agreed to delay debating recommendations by the public funds protection committee that the government should stop selling its stakes in profitable local companies. The delay was requested by the government because of the absence of Finance Minister Anas Al-Saleh for personal reasons.
KUWAIT: Oil Minister Ali Al-Omair (left) speaks to Prime Minister HH Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah during a session at the National Assembly yesterday.