By Staff writer
Controversial proposals for 7% hike to be passed to Shura council for second time in a decade
Bahrain’s parliament approved a seven percent hike in state pensions on Tuesday.
MPs passed an annual seven percent increase in the pension level, up from 3 percent at present, Gulf Daily News reported.
The move was controversial, though, as it ignored a recommendation to vote against it by the government’s services committee, based on fears it would put pressure on an already overstretched national budget.
The proposal was originally approved by MPs in 2007, the newspaper said, but it was rejected by the Shura Council and sat unvisited for nine years before the upper chamber again rejected it last month.
However, official legislative procedure means parliament was obliged to vote on it afterwards – it debated the matter for four hours on Tuesday, it was reported.
During the debate, MP Nabeel Al Bulooshi claimed Bahrain’s state pension levels are lower than elsewhere in the world, reducing retirees’ quality of life.
“All around the world when someone retires they feel happy because they know it is travelling the world on cruises time, except in Bahrain where pensioners are left to rot in hospitals waiting for death,” he was quoted as saying.
The latest decision means the proposals will go back to the Shura Council a second time. If the upper chamber rejects it a second time the proposal will be shelved.