By B Izzak

KUWAIT: A joint committee comprising of the National Assembly's financial and economic affairs and legal and legislative panels approved on Sunday a draft law allowing the government to offer a grant of KD 3,000 to every retired Kuwaiti, the head of the financial committee said. MP Ahmad Al-Hamad said that only one member objected to the bill, which also stipulates to increase the salaries of pensioners by KD 30 in August this year and by KD 20 every year from next year.

The cost of the grant is estimated at KD 590 million and will benefit close to 200,000 Kuwaiti pensioners. The bill also allows the government to withdraw KD 500 million a year from the budget in favor of the Public Institution for Public Security, the agency that manages the fund for pensioners. The government says the amount is needed to cover what is called the actuarial deficit faced by the agency. Hamad said the joint committee will send its report to the Assembly, which is scheduled to hold an emergency session on Tuesday called by Assembly Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanem.

Meanwhile, the head of the Assembly's environment committee MP Hamad Al-Matar said a number of experts and oil executives told the panel during a meeting on Sunday that there is no relation between the recent strong earthquake that hit Kuwait and oil operations. The lawmaker said earthquakes normally happen deeper than five kilometers, while oil drillings and operations normally take place at under two kilometers.