Parliament approves social solidarity bill

One day before the end of its current session, parliament on Monday approved in principle new social solidarity legislation despite objections by opposition representatives and a handful of ruling party MPs.

The law will provide financial assistance to low-income families if they meet certain criteria pertaining to their respective incomes, education and housing and health conditions. It will also apply to orphans, those with special needs and divorced women who meet the same criteria.

The bill calls for prison terms and monetary penalties for those who disburse financial assistance to families not eligible for it.

Majority MP Zakaria Azmy dismissed complaints by opposition MPs that the bill had been approved without being subject to thorough deliberation. “The government has been studying the draft law for some time and was eager not to delay it further because it concerns the problems of the poor,” Azmy said.

MP Georgette Qillini, for her part, called on businessmen to donate 7 percent of their personal fortunes to the government’s social solidarity fund. “They should take after Bill Gates, who donated half of his fortune to charity,” she said.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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