The Shura Council held Monday its regular weekly meeting, under the chairmanship of HE Speaker of the Council Hassan bin Abdullah Al Ghanim.
At the outset of the session, HE Secretary-General of the Shura Council Dr. Ahmed bin Nasser Al Fadhala read out the agenda of the session. The minutes of the previous session were approved.
The Council discussed two draft laws regarding social insurance and military retirement, in light of the report by the joint committee formed by Legal and Legislative Affairs and Financial and Economic Affairs Committees on the two draft laws, the responses of the competent authorities to the inquiries and observations of members of the committee, and the consultations and coordination that took place with the esteemed government regarding them.
After extensive discussions characterized by depth and understanding of the conditions of retirees and their keenness to achieve their aspirations and in appreciation of their sacrifice and giving for the sake of the country, the Shura Council approved the two draft laws that were prepared in implementation of the supreme directives of HH the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani to build an effective social protection system for all Qataris, face the burdens of life, meet the aspirations of retirees and ensure a decent life for them.
HE Speaker of the Shura Council Hassan bin Abdullah Al Ghanim valued the government's efforts in completing the two draft laws and referring them to the Shura Council.
His Excellency said that the two draft laws represent a qualitative leap and a major development in addressing the conditions of retired citizens. HE affirmed the Council's keenness to cooperate with the esteemed government for the good of the nation and the interests of the citizens, and to achieve a decent life for them in implementation of HH the Amir's directives and in accordance with the provisions of the permanent constitution of the State of Qatar.
HE Speaker also praised what the committee had accomplished in its study of the two draft laws, noting that the drafts received great attention and in-depth discussions to achieve the desired goals and objectives for the wellbeing of retired citizens, both civilians and military.
Members of the Shura Council affirmed that the Council seeks, through the exercise of its functions in accordance with the powers granted to it by the constitution, to achieve the interests of the nation and citizens, noting that the Council studied the two draft laws thoroughly and carefully, given their importance and their direct connection to the interests of retirees.
They stressed that the retired segment is of great importance and appreciation due to their sincere efforts in developing the country in various sectors.
The two draft laws approved included a number of improvements and amendments that are in the interest of retirees, which were not provided for by the current laws, the most prominent of which are: retirement pension shall not be less than QR 15,000 as a minimum, while the two draft laws set the highest ceiling for pensions to be no more than QR 100,000, which is the highest limit in the region.
The two draft laws also authorized the granting of exceptional retirement pensions to Qataris who are not eligible for the pension, and the State bears the costs of this, which is an advantage in Qatari law.
It is permissible to grant a periodic pension allowance by a decision of the Council of Ministers, which is a new feature for retirees related to the cost of living and the solvency of pension funds.
The two draft laws also permit the granting of advances to pensioners, provided that the permit here is linked to the financial solvency of the fund. They also authorize payment of all amounts owed to the fund in installments, so that the insured could pay any obligations owed to the fund in monthly installments in order to facilitate and take into account the circumstances of the insured.
In support of the private sector, according to the draft Social Insurance Law, it is permissible for the State's public treasury, with the Cabinet's approval and in accordance with the controls it determines, to bear a contribution percentage determined for the employer from the private sector.
The two draft laws also regulate the issue of transferring the right to the pension payments to the beneficiaries when the pensioner dies. Among the beneficiaries are non-Qatari children, in order to preserve the right of the those who are entitled to a pension, even if they are non-Qataris.
Under the draft, the "Social Insurance" law voluntarily applies to Qataris working for themselves, with the aim of giving protection to them and their families, and stipulates that the pensions due may be paid without being restricted to the employee's or worker's registration, provided that the relationship between the insured and the employer is proven, with the aim of protecting the employee or worker.
Among the other advantages, the two draft laws stipulated the possibility of combining more than one pension or salary, not exceeding QR 100,000. They also stipulated a reward for the pensioner for the subscription period of more than 30 years, and this reward will be in addition to the reward that the employee will receive in accordance with the Civil Human Resources Law.
As a new advantage not found in other laws, the two draft laws stipulate eligibility to retain the pension without reduction in the event that the insured woman resigns to care for her children with disabilities, provided that she served for 20 years.
In order to preserve the rights of the employee, the two draft laws also stipulate that the insured, who does not meet the conditions for the pension, will be given a one-time compensation, so that the insured's contributions and the returns on his or her investment are refunded in accordance with the conditions in the two draft laws.
The two draft laws stipulated that the widow gets 100 percent of the pension in the absence of beneficiaries, in order to help her with the burdens of life and support her children.
The Military Retirement draft law also stipulated adding a specialization allowance that does not exceed QR 5,000 to the subscription account base, in addition to housing allowance. Meanwhile, the draft Social Insurance Law stipulated adding the social allowance and housing allowance to the subscription account base.
The draft Social Insurance law excluded those who reached the age of 60 and were entitled to a pension, in accordance with the provisions of Law No. 24 of 2002 on Retirement and Pensions, from the contribution period stipulated in the draft law. Thus, their pension would be settled in accordance with the regulations set by the draft.
The draft law also stipulated an increase in the average pensions of the insured in the private sector by calculating the pension on the basis of the average salary of the last tree years instead of five years as in the current law, in order to ensure the highest average retirement pension for the employee.
As for national service conscripts who do not hold civilian jobs, the Military Retirement draft law stipulates that they receive insurance protection during the national service, in the event of death or disability.
Regarding other agendas, HE Speaker of the Shura Council Hassan bin Abdullah Al Ghanim briefed the Council on the meeting he held with the Chair and members of the All-Party Parliamentary British-Qatar Group.
HE stated that the meeting reviewed the existing parliamentary cooperation relations between the State of Qatar and the United Kingdom and ways to enhance them, adding that they discussed ways to strengthen and deepen bilateral relations between parliamentary friendship groups in the Shura Council and its counterpart in the United Kingdom.
HE the Speaker of the Council stressed that such meetings contribute to strengthening parliamentary cooperation relations between the Shura Council and its counterparts from brotherly and friendly countries and work to enhance the exchange of expertise and experience.
In turn, members of the Council praised the meeting, stressing that this contributes to deepening relations of cooperation and understanding and strengthening friendly ties between the State of Qatar and the countries of the world.