Bahrain’s upper chamber has approved controversial amendments to the country’s pension rules.
Thirty-one members from the Shura Council voted in favour of the new rules, while three rejected it and two abstained.
Shura chairman Ali Al Saleh opted not to vote during today’s extraordinary session, where 37 of the 40 members were present.
The amendments were branded unconstitutional and unfair by MPs last week.
There are public concerns that the proposed amendments would give the government full authority to change people’s pensions without any input from parliament or the Shura Council.
However, during debate today Finance Minister Shaikh Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Khalifa told Shura members that reforms being made to the country’s pension rules were “necessary” to protect the funds from being drained.
He said the government would continue referring to the legislative authority to seek future amendments to pension rules.
The GDN previously reported that those opposed to the move fear it could also result in a lack of accountability and decisions that would negatively impact people’s pensions.
The government-drafted amendments would give the chairman of the Pension Fund Authority (PFA), power to authorise changes to the system without legislative approval.
It would see the PFA board propose the level of contributions, the period they should cover and whether pensions should rise, as well as set the age of retirement and determine voluntary contributions for periods when no payments have been made.
For the full report read tomorrow’s GDN