Philippines delegation’s visit delayed till end of July: Deputy Foreign Minister

Ministry operates 5,000 electricity smart meters around Kuwait

KUWAIT: Kuwait’s Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Al-Jarallah said a planned visit of a delegation from the Philippines to discuss the final version of labor contracts had been postponed till the end of July due to other commitments of the Philippine delegation. Jarallah also stressed both sides’ keenness on drafting the contracts in a way that protects the rights of both the employee and employer. Notably, the foreign ministry had earlier announced that the visit will be made by the beginning of July and that another delegation will simultaneously visit Kuwait to hold political talks.

Female employees
Official statistics declared by Minister of State for Economic Affairs Mariam Al-Aqeel on responding to a related parliamentary inquiry showed that the total number of female citizens aged 50-55 is 36,128, of whom 12,693 are employed, 13,189 are retired and 10,246 are housewives. Further, statistics showed that 50-55-year-old female citizens who do not get any social aid or fixed income are 6,927, while those who receive social aid are 2,279. Widows receiving their deceased husbands’ pensions are 1,040.

KPC bonuses
Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) paid bonuses to 57 expatriates and non-Kuwaiti employees working at its administrative building in the period of 2010-2018, said well-informed oil sources, noting that 90 employees had excellent performance reports in the same period. The sources added that the bonuses paid in the period from 2010 until 2016 were equal to two months’ salaries, while excellent performers only received 13 percent of their monthly salary as bonus after changing the regulations of paying the bonus to expats working in the oil sector. KPC explained that it does not implement the ‘excellent performance bonus’ system and that it gives incentives and special bonuses for extra tasks not included in employees’ job descriptions, provided an employee has at least a ‘very good’ in their performance assessment reports, does not receive a written notice during the same fiscal year and the total of their sick leaves does not exceed six months, adding a maximum of 60 percent of employees get this bonus.

Retirees’ loans
The Public Institution For Social Security is currently considering reducing the value of the monthly installment of retirees’ loans to deduct only 10 percent instead of 24 percent of their pensions, well-informed sources said. The sources added that a related study is in its final stages and will be approved after amending the previous deduction stipulated in the new retirement law, which allows retirees to loans equal to seven times their monthly pensions to be paid back in 24 installments equal to 25 percent of the monthly pension. The sources explained that the new amendment will include extending the payment period and number of installments, adding that deduction will still have to be equally paid by heirs in case a retiree passes away.

Munich Technical University
Kuwait Municipality approved a request by the Ministry of Higher Education’s private universities secretariat general to allocate a 150,000 sq m piece of land to build the Munich Technical University in the area between the Sixth Ring Road and Sulaibiya residential area and to build a roundabout to serve the university’s parking lots. The municipality sent a report to the Municipal Council with its conditions, including getting the necessary approvals from relevant ministries, providing a parking lot within the campus area, providing a traffic study for the location, getting the traffic department’s approval and conducting a full environmental study.

Smart meters
The Ministry of Electricity and Water (MEW) started operating smart electricity consumption meters on June 19 after initially installing 5,000 in various areas, said MEW’s assistant undersecretary for consumer affairs Meshaan Al-Otaibi, adding that the ministry is currently working on the second phase by offering a tender to supply 300,000 devices to be followed by a another to supply 800,000 devices. Otaibi said 300,000 smart meters will be installed in February, starting with residential houses in Mubarak Al-Kabeer and the investment sector in Salmiya and Hawally.
Otaibi added that smart meters will put an end to manual power consumption assessments, noting that consumption will be automatically assessed by MEW, which will notify consumers of their tariffs through SMS. Responding to a question whether the new power bills will be postpaid, Otaibi said the new meters provide this feature, but the timing of implementing it is up to MEW and that no decision has been made in this regard.

By A Saleh