SIO urged to build offices on its land

MPS yesterday urged the Social Insurance Organisation (SIO) to stop providing funds to its affiliates for leasing buildings – which annually drains BD1.4 million from its coffers.

They called on the affiliates – Osool Asset Management and Amlak SIO Development Company – to make use of unused land under its control for building office units.

A parliamentary committee to probe pension funds, headed by MP Ebrahim Al Nefaei, last November found that there were 31 commercial plots of high value under both affiliates that have been left unused.

MPs also questioned SIO, Osool and Amlak officials over ‘bonuses’ paid to executives for representation in companies that Osool is a shareholder in – despite it being their job.

The committee also called for urgent measures to reduce spending in Osool and Amlak, which invest pension money.

“Osool and Amlak were merged a few months ago and yet they have two boards and two chief executives and we believe it is time that a clear and urgent plan to reduce costs is drawn up,” said Mr Al Nefaei during a zoom meeting yesterday.

“We still don’t know why 31 high-value plots that are on prime commercial and investment locations, are not open for bidding despite being empty for years.

“The chief executive of Amlak said they were waiting for more lucrative deals, which is unacceptable.

“Both affiliates continue to lease offices for BD1.4m when they can construct offices on their unused plots. We want to know their plans immediately.”

The MPs also sought a field visit to assess all properties under the SIO and its affiliates.

Finance and National Economy Minister Shaikh Salman bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, who is also SIO board chairman, in 2019 warned of huge deficits in pension funds, which could impact civil servants’ coffers leading to bankruptcy by 2028. It could also drain private sector coffers by 2034, he added.

This led to urgent measures being introduced last year to control the drainage.




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